LONDON Dec 19 U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a flat-to-higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday,
consolidating gains after the S&P 500's best two-day run in a
* Futures for the S&P 500 were unchanged, while Dow
Jones and Nasdaq 100 contracts rose 0.2 percent
and 0.3 percent, respectively, at 0924 GMT.
* Japan's Nikkei jumped 2.4 percent to end above
10,000 for the first time in more than eight months on Wednesday
on growing expectations of easier monetary policy under a new
* European shares continued to drift higher as expectations
built that a budget deal in the United States is close, though
traders reckoned any positive outcome is largely baked into the
* The U.S. Commerce Dept. releases housing starts and
permits for November at 1330 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey
forecast 873,000 housing starts in November versus 894,000 in
October, and a total of 875,000 building permits in November
compared with 868,000 in the prior month.
* FedEx, the No. 2 U.S. package-delivery company, is
due to report second-quarter results at 1230 GMT. It is expected
to post earnings per share of $1.41 down from $1.57 one year
earlier, as a weakening economy leads corporate customers to
choose slower, cheaper and less profitable ways of shipping
* Industrial machinery maker SPX Corp is closing in
on a roughly $4.2 billion deal to buy rival Gardner Denver Inc
, as it makes progress in securing financing, a source
familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
* U.S. securities regulators on Tuesday outlined potential
ways to reduce conflicts of interest at the country's largest
credit-rating agencies, Moody's Corp, McGraw-Hill Cos
Inc's Standard & Poor's, and Fimalac SA's
* Google's Motorola Mobility unit cannot assert a
patent against Apple Inc which covers a sensor that
stops phone users from dialing wrong numbers on touchscreen
devices, a U.S. trade judge ruled.
* The Federal Trade Commission is unlikely to finish its
investigation before January into whether Google Inc
abused its power in the search market, the New York Times
reported, citing people briefed on the investigation.
* Oracle Corp's quarterly profit beat Wall Street
expectations on strong software sales growth, suggesting that
the approach of the "fiscal cliff" has yet to crimp corporate
spending on technology.
* Pharma group Pfizer plans to cut about 20 percent
of its sales force for primary-care drugs, Bloomberg News
reported, as the pharmaceutical company copes with the loss of a
patent for top-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor.
* Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable TV
distributor in the United States, said on Tuesday it is planning
to drop arts-focused cable channel Ovation, citing its low
ratings relative to the cost of carrying the network.
* Accenture, the technology outsourcing and consulting
company, reports first quarter results after the market close.
* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 115.57
points, or 0.87 percent, to 13,350.96 on Tuesday. The S&P 500
gained 16.43 points, or 1.15 percent, to 1,446.79. The
Nasdaq Composite added 43.93 points, or 1.46 percent, to