LONDON, April 3 U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for
the S&P 500 up 0.2 percent, while Dow Jones
futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.1 percent at
* One of the Federal Reserve's most hawkish officials
confronted one of the institution's most dovish policymakers on
Tuesday in a rare joint public debate over the risks posed to
inflation by the U.S. central bank's bold steps to spur growth.
The Fed's monetary easing has helped supported asset prices over
the last year.
* At least three of the world's top drugmakers - Pfizer Inc
, Novartis AG and Abbott Laboratories -
are bidding for Brazil's Ache Laboratorios Farmaceuticos in an
auction that may value the group at more than $5 billion, people
familiar with the matter said.
* Verizon said it does not "currently have any
intention" to merge with or buy its partner Vodafone,
either alone or in conjunction with others, in response to press
reports. However, the telephone company said on Tuesday that it
would still be a willing buyer of Vodafone's 45 percent share of
their Verizon Wireless U.S. venture, in line with public
statements Verizon has made many times over the years.
* The denial of takeover speculation on Vodafone helped to
lead British and European shares lower in early trade. European
shares are down 0.1 percent.
* J.C. Penney Co Inc Chief Executive Ron Johnson
received total compensation of $1.9 million in 2012, according
to a regulatory filing on Tuesday, a sharp decline after a year
that saw the department store chain's sales fall perilously.
* Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc is emerging as the
lead contender in an auction for Life Technologies Corp
, a genetic testing maker with a market value of more
than $11 billion, three people familiar with the matter said
* Tesla Motors Inc said on Tuesday evening that it
was partnering with Wells Fargo & Co and U.S. Bank
on a financing product that it says will make its pricey
electric sedan accessible to more people.
* On the data front, the ADP March employment report could
give some clue as to how the U.S. jobs market fared as deep
government spending cuts kicked in. The Institute for Supply
Management also releases its March non-manufacturing index.
* ConAgra Foods and Monsanto report earnings on
* U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday, as shares of health
insurance companies, including Humana Inc, UnitedHealth
Group Inc and Cigna Corp, soared after U.S.
federal officials scrapped proposed payment cuts to carriers
that run Medicare plans amid pressure from senior citizens and