PARIS, April 11 U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a flat to higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with
futures for the S&P 500 up 0.13 percent, Dow Jones
futures up 0.22 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.04
percent at 0923 GMT.
* Asian and European shares rally on Thursday, mirroring
strong gains on Wall Street in the previous session, buoyed by
Japan's aggressive monetary easing and signs of a recovery in
* Shares in Yum Brands Inc will be in focus as the
biggest foreign fast-food chain operator in China is in danger
of breaking its 11-year streak of double-digit profit growth,
scrambling to deal with food scares and bird flu in its most
lucrative market. The group said in a filing Wednesday that the
latest deadly avian flu outbreak would have a "significant,
negative impact" on sales at KFC stores in China in April.
* Warehouse club chain Costco Wholesale Corp
reported a 4 percent rise in March sales at stores open at least
a year, missing analysts' expectations, due to lower fuel prices
and a strong dollar, which hurt the value of its sales overseas.
* Protective Life Corp agreed to buy a portfolio of
old policies from French insurer AXA SA's U.S.
business for $1.1 billion, with the aim of squeezing more value
out of them.
* Deutsche Telekom sweetened its terms on
Wednesday for the proposed merger between T-Mobile USA and
MetroPCS Communications by reducing the combined
company's debt, bowing to pressure from activists and proxy
* Chesapeake Energy Corp has won the dismissal of a
securities class action lawsuit over allegations the company
misled investors about its financial condition. The lawsuit
claimed that Chesapeake had failed to disclose financial
obligations by the company and its former chief executive,
* Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company,
said on Wednesday its production of oil and gas has declined
from a relatively strong fourth quarter while work on two of its
three biggest U.S. refineries cut into downstream performance.
* A federal judge on Wednesday approved a $115 million
settlement between American International Group Inc
shareholders and former CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg and other
defendants over alleged improper accounting at the insurance
* Microsoft Corp is developing a new lineup of
Surface tablets, including a 7-inch version expected to go into
mass production later this year, the Wall Street Journal
reported, citing people familiar with the company's plans.
* Personal computer sales plunged 14 percent in the first
three months of the year, the biggest decline in two decades of
keeping records, as tablets continue to gain in popularity and
buyers appear to be avoiding Microsoft Corp's new
Windows 8 system, according to a leading tech tracking firm.
* Turkey's Denizbank, acquired last year by
Russia's Sberbank, said on Thursday it had signed an
agreement to buy Citibank's consumer banking business in
Turkey, part of a Citi plan to shed assets worldwide.
* The Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program could
spark unwanted inflation unless the U.S. central bank is
dexterous in how it pares back easing, a top Fed official who
has long opposed the purchases warned on Wednesday.
* The International Energy Agency (IEA) trimmed its estimate
for growth in oil demand in 2013, becoming the third of the
world's top oil forecasters this week to predict weaker
consumption due to subdued economic growth.
* On the macro front, investors will keep an eye on U.S.
weekly jobless claims, due at 1230 GMT.
* U.S. stocks climbed 1 percent on Wednesday, with both the
Dow and S&P 500 ending at historic highs as cyclical shares led
the way higher for a second straight day.
* The S&P 500 finally joined the new all-time intraday high
club, surging past a record set on Oct. 11, 2007. The index has
struggled to breach the level of 1,576.09 for the past several
weeks, but broke above it on Wednesday to rise as high as
1,589.07. The Dow also hit another intraday milestone, rising as
high as 14,826.66.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson/editing by Chris Pizzey, London
MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)