November 11, 2011 / 9:54 AM / 7 years ago

Stock index futures signal gains; Disney eyed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.6 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.7 percent at 0924 GMT (4:24 a.m. ET).

European stocks were up 0.6 percent in morning trade, led by shares in euro zone banks, such as BNP Paribas and UniCredit, rising on expectation political developments in Greece and Italy could pave the way for tough austerity measures seen as crucial to contain the euro zone’s two-year-old debt crisis.

Walt Disney will be in focus after strong results that trumped Wall Street’s expectations as advertisers spent more at cable networks like ESPN and consumers kept going to theme parks despite a rough economy. The company’s shares traded in Frankfurt were up 4.6 percent.

U.S. coal group Peabody Energy Corp extended its $5 billion bid for Australian peer Macarthur Coal by two weeks after failing to reach the 90 percent threshold for acceptances by its Friday deadline.

Nvidia Corp’s third-quarter results beat estimates as the chipmaker refocused on smartphones and tablets in a tepid personal computer market.

Exxon Mobil has signed oil and gas exploration deals with Iraq’s Kurdistan, becoming the first oil major to deal with the region which has had strained relations with Baghdad, an adviser to the Kurdish government said on Friday.

Caterpillar said it will offer to buy Chinese group ERA Mining Machinery to strengthen its mining business and ramp up investment in the fast-growing country, in a dual-option deal that could be worth up to $885 million.

Vivendi’s Universal Music unit is closing in on a $1.9 billion deal to buy EMI’s recorded music business, which could be announced early next week, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the talks.

On the economic front, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers was due to release its preliminary November consumer sentiment index. A Reuters poll found a forecast for a reading of 61.5 compared with 60.9 in the final October release.

U.S. stocks bounced back on Thursday from the previous session’s steep losses as investors latched onto positive corporate and economic news, in the absence of a clear worsening in Europe’s debt crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 112.92 points, or 1.0 percent, at 11,893.86. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 10.60 points, or 0.9 percent, at 1,239.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.50 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,625.15.

Editing by Dan Lalor

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