April 5, 2012 / 8:29 AM / 5 years ago

U.S. stock index futures signal slightly higher open

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Thursday with futures for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones up 0.3 percent, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.1 percent at 0808 GMT.

* The U.S. corporate and economic calendars were light on Thursday other than jobless benefits claims data and trading volumes could be thin ahead of the Good Friday holiday.

* The U.S. Labor Dept releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended March 30 at 1230 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 355,000 new filings compared with 359,000 in the prior week.

* Ford Motor Co has raised its forecast for total 2012 U.S. auto sales after the industry's solid first quarter, Ford President for the Americas Mark Fields said on Wednesday.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday that the company is inclined to restrict its stock buybacks when its shares are trading above $45.

* Delta Airlines DAL.N, struggling with high fuel costs, is considering a bid for ConocoPhillips' idled 185,000 barrel per day refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

* Nike Inc beat its rival Reebok International in court on Wednesday in a legal pile-up over the use of popular National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow's name and number on shirts of his new team, the New York Jets.

* Apple Inc and publishers Pearson and Macmillan are reluctant to agree to terms sought by U.S. and European antitrust authorities investigating possible electronic-book price-fixing, the Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying on Wednesday.

* Quest Software Inc's new chief executive rushed to sell the company to head off a possible investigation by regulators, according to a shareholder lawsuit that shines a light on the technology company's accounting.

* The world's largest branded wine maker, Constellation Brands, reports fourth-quarter results, with analysts polled by Reuters expecting earnings per share of $0.38, up from $0.35 a year earlier.

* The services sector in China, the world's second-largest economy, expanded solidly in March and business confidence hit an 11-month high, though overall activity remained below its long-term average, a private sector survey of purchasing managers showed on Thursday.

* European shares rose early on Thursday, snapping a two-session slide, with investors tempted back into the market after the FTSEurofirst 300 index hit a support level where buyers have returned in the past.

* Japan's Nikkei ended down 0.5 percent on Thursday, hurt by renewed concerns about Europe's funding difficulties after a weak Spanish debt auction and by fading hopes for additional stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The benchmark is still up more than 15 percent this year.

* The Dow Jones industrial average fell 124.80 points, or 0.95 percent, to 13,074.75 on Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index tumbled 14.42 points, or 1.02 percent, to 1,398.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 45.48 points, or 1.46 percent, to 3,068.09. Volume was light.

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