U.S. stock index futures signal higher start for Wall St

LONDON Wed Jan 9, 2013 9:11am GMT

LONDON Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones up 0.2 percent, while Nasdaq 100 futures had gained 0.3. percent by 0847 GMT.

* European shares traded higher on Wednesday as an upbeat start to the U.S. earnings season revived appetite for equities after a two-day decline.

* The first U.S. company to report quarterly results, aluminium producer Alcoa, offered a positive outlook for 2013, albeit with a caveat relating to U.S. budget talks. Shares in the group, which beat market expectations in terms of revenue, rose 1.3 percent in after-hours trade.

* Microsoft Corp has sold 60 million licenses and upgrades for its new Windows 8 operating system in the 10 weeks since its launch, one of the top executives of the company's Windows unit said at the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday.

* Apple Inc is working on a lower-end iPhone, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the matter. The report comes as Apple's Chief Executive Tim Cook meets with partners and government officials in China.

* Constellation Brands, the world's largest branded wine company, is expected to post third-quarter earnings per share of $0.55, a 5 cent increase compared to the same period last year. The company may also provide an update on its plan to gain full control of the distribution of Corona Extra beer in the United States.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley are among a group of banks expected to agree as soon as this week to a $1.5 billion settlement with federal regulators over botched foreclosure claims, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

* American International Group Inc, the insurer rescued by the U.S. government in 2008, said on Tuesday it is considering joining a lawsuit that claims the bailout terms were unfair, drawing angry condemnation from lawmakers.

* The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 55.44 points, or 0.41 percent, to 13,328.85 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 4.74 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,457.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 7.01 points, or 0.23 percent, to 3,091.81.

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