* EPL Oil to be acquired by Energy XXI for $2.3 bln
* Express slumps after outlook
* Copper drops to lowest level in nearly four years
* Futures down: Dow 42 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 13 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, March 12 U.S. stock index futures fell
on Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a third day of
declines, as concerns grew over the strength of China's economy.
* London copper, seen as a proxy for China's
economic health, fell to its lowest level since July 2010.
Recent economic data has shown signs of economic slowing, while
with the country's first ever bond default last week has
increased concerns that financing deals that use the industrial
metal as collateral could unravel.
* Geopolitical issues continued to be monitored by investors
as earnings season has drawn to a close and amid a light
economic calendar this week.
* Ukraine's government appealed for Western help on Tuesday
to stop Moscow annexing Crimea but the Black Sea peninsula,
overrun by Russian troops, seemed fixed on a course that could
formalize rule from Moscow within days.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 5.5 points and were
below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking
into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on
the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost
42 points and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 13 points.
* EPL Oil & Gas Inc jumped 41.4 percent to $38.25 in
light premarket trading after the company agreed to be acquired
by larger rival Energy XXI Ltd for $2.3 billion,
* Express Inc dropped 12.6 percent in premarket
trading after the apparel retailer reported fourth-quarter
earnings and forecast a profit for the current quarter that fell
far short of analyst expectations.
* Oxigene Inc surged 145 percent to $5.93 before
the opening bell after the company said its experimental drug
Zybrestat combined with Roche's cancer drug Avastin
significantly slowed progression of recurrent ovarian cancer
better than Avastin alone in a midstage clinical trial.
* European shares fell, weighed down by below-forecast
earnings reports and fears of more corporate defaults in China
as a persistent decline in the copper price hit the mining
* Asian stocks fell as economic uncertainty in China and the
United States combined with political tensions in Ukraine to
keep investors cautious.