LONDON Feb 20 U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a slightly firmer open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with
futures for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones 0.1 percent
higher at 0936 GMT, while those for the Nasdaq 100 added
* U.S. producer prices, housing starts and building permits
for January are all due at 1330 GMT, with the data expected to
show a slight acceleration in factory price pressures alongside
a continued recovery in the housing market.
* The market focus, though, is likely to be on the minutes
from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee's January meeting,
due at 1900 GMT, which will be scanned for clues on how long
monetary policy is likely to remain ultra accommodative.
* The earnings season continues, with Devon Energy Corp.
, Fluor Corp. and Newfield Exploration among
those due to report.
* With the season now three quarters of the way through, 28
percent of S&P 500 companies have missed full-year earnings
forecasts, with 41 percent undershooting on revenues, according
to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
* Dell Inc : The world's No.3 maker of personal
computers reported a 31 percent drop in profit, hurt by a
shrinking consumer business, as investors weighed founder
Michael Dell's offer to buy out the firm.
* Demand Media Inc : The company said it is exploring
the separation of its media business from its domain name
service, a disclosure that sent its shares up nearly 20 percent
in after-hours trading.
* Boeing : The aircraft maker has found a way to fix
battery problems with its grounded 787 Dreamliner jets which
involves increasing the space between cells, a source familiar
with the U.S. company's plans told Reuters.
* Life Technologies : An $11 billion-plus sale of
Life Technologies Corp is looking less likely as a gap in price
expectations with the company has left potential buyer Thermo
Fisher Scientific Inc skeptical about a deal while
buyout firms' offers came up short, people familiar with the
matter said this week.
* Herbalife : The diet supplements company raised its
2013 earnings forecast late on Tuesday.
* Heinz : The FBI is looking into possible insider
trading in the options of the ketchup maker before its
blockbuster deal last week to be acquired by Warren Buffett and
Brazil's 3G Capital.
* Sina Corp : The operator of China's largest online
portal posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and
profit amid concerns about the slowing growth of Chinese online
* Milennial Media : The mobile advertising firm's
fourth-quarter sales missed Wall Street expectations, and the
company forecast first-quarter revenue below analysts'
estimates, sending its shares down as much as 33 percent after
* Marriott International : The hotel operator
reported better-than-expected quarterly results, aided by rising
international travel and higher rates, and said it expects
per-room revenue to rise further in 2013.
* Nabors Industries : The owner of the world's
largest onshore drilling rig fleet, reported a 44 percent jump
in profit, but revenue fell as its major customers curtailed
spending amid the worst slowdown in gas-directed drilling in
more than a decade.
* Total System Services Inc : The Payment processor
said it will buy prepaid debit card provider NetSpend Holdings
Inc for about $1.4 billion in cash to expand its
presence in the prepaid card market and target new customers.
* European shares traded flat on Wednesday, consolidating
after the previous session's sharp gains, held back by weak
earnings newsflow and as traders cited caution ahead of the
minutes to the U.S. Federal Reserve's January policy meeting.
* The Dow Jones industrial average gained 53.91
points, or 0.39 percent on Tuesday to 14,035.67 points - just
0.9 percent away from its record high. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index closed up 0.73 percent at 1,530.94, while the
Nasdaq Composite Index added or 0.68 percent to