U.S. stock index futures signal slight gains

PARIS Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:37am GMT

PARIS Jan 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.04 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.18 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.01 percent at 1023 GMT.

* Rallies in European shares and the region's single currency stalled on Monday following brisk gains last week as investors awaited confirmation that financial market conditions and the outlook for the euro area have improved.

* Activist investor Carl Icahn on Friday pushed offshore driller Transocean to declare a dividend of at least $4 per share and said if it does not, he will propose it at the company's next annual meeting, according to a regulatory filing.

* US Airways Group Inc and American Airlines parent AMR Corp are in the final stages of negotiating a merger, with the final price and management structure still to be resolved, four people familiar with the matter said.

* Johnson & Johnson is shopping a business that makes women's products such as Stayfree and Carefree pads, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the process.

* BlackRock, the world's largest asset management company, has taken an $80 million stake in Twitter Inc, a person with knowledge of the deal said Friday. The six-year old social media company will not raise new capital as part of the private deal that values the firm at more than $9 billion. BlackRock will buy shares directly from early Twitter employees seeking to liquidate their stock holdings and options.

* Viacom Inc, parent of cable networks MTV and Nickelodeon and movie studio Paramount Pictures, paid Chief Executive Philippe Dauman about $10 million less in 2012 than a year earlier, a regulatory filing showed.

* The world's biggest coffee chain Starbucks Corp denied it had threatened to suspend investment in Britain in protest over perceived government criticism of its tax affairs.

* On the earnings front, companies such as Yahoo, Caterpillar and Plum Creek Timber are set to report results while on the macro side, investors awaited December durable goods orders, due at 1330 GMT, as well as pending home sales for December, due at 1500 GMT.

* Toyota Motor Corp regained the crown as the world's top selling automaker in 2012, posting record-high sales and beating rivals General Motors and Volkswagen .  * The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed above 1,500 for the first time in more than five years on Friday as strong U.S. earnings reports, including Procter & Gamble's, helped the benchmark extend its rally to eight days.

* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 70.65 points or 0.51 percent, to close at 13,895.98. The S&P 500 gained 8.14 points or 0.54 percent, to 1,502.96. The Nasdaq Composite added 19.33 points or 0.62 percent, to end at 3,149.71.