* Brent crude up above $40 per barrel
* Chipotle down as 4 employees fall ill
* Futures up: Dow 86 pts, S&P 9.75 pts, Nasdaq 21.5 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Wednesday, tracking a rise in oil prices, even as investors remained wary of a China-led weakness in the global economy.
Benchmark Brent rose above $40 a barrel in anticipation that the world’s largest exporters would agree to freeze production and help reduce a massive oversupply.
Crude prices, which have had a big influence on stocks this year, have rallied sharply in recent days. However, industry watchers remain skeptical of a sustained recovery due to the glut.
“Obviously, it’s about oil prices,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
“The market is probably going to have an upward bias for most of the session as investors await the ECB (decision) tomorrow,” he said.
Markets worldwide were lower on Wednesday as investors fretted about global economic conditions ahead of central bank meetings on monetary policies.
While recent data has pointed to a recovery in the U.S. economy, reports out of Asia and the euro zone continue to paint a picture of faltering growth.
The European Central Bank, which will meet later this week, is expected to increase its stimulus program.
While the U.S. Federal Reserve is not expected to raise interest rates at its meeting on March 15-16, the central bank has said it is on track to raise rates gradually this year.
At 8:08 a.m. ET (1308 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 86 points, or 0.51 percent, with 26,256 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.75 points, or 0.49 percent, with 180,798 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 21.5 points, or 0.5 percent, on volume of 26,330 contracts.
U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, snapping a five-day run of gains on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average, after a slump in oil prices dragged down the energy sector.
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill were down 2.8 percent at $510 premarket. The company, already reeling from several food-borne illnesses, temporarily shut a Massachusetts restaurant after four employees fell sick.
Valeant jumped 4.8 percent to $66.20 after the Canadian drugmaker said it would increase the size of its board to add three new independent directors.
Ross Stores was down 1.6 percent at $56.49 after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to neutral. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)