Futures point to higher open on Wall St; Fed eyed

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) index futures edged up on Tuesday, pointing to
a slightly firmer start for Wall Street, ahead of a Federal
Reserve meeting where policymakers are expected to reiterate a
pledge to keep interest rates low for a long time.

* By 1012 GMT, futures for the Dow Jones (DJc2: ), S&P 500
futures (SPc2: ) and Nasdaq futures (NDc2: ) were up 0.1 to 0.2
percent.

* The Fed is seen holding interest rates near zero, and
analysts widely expect the central bank to say again that high
unemployment and low inflation warrant holding borrowing costs
“exceptionally low” for “an extended period”.

* Economic data likely to garner interest on Tuesday include
February housing starts, due at 1230 GMT. Analysts expect
housing starts to have decreased in February, largely due to
harsh winter weather and lower demand.

* U.S. building permits for February as well as export and
import prices for the month are also due at 1230 GMT.

* Discover Financial (DFS.N: ) releases first-quarter figures.
Analysts expect the firm to post $0.12 earnings per share,
against a loss of $0.32 per share a year ago.

* Shoe retailer DSW (DSW.N: ) is scheduled to report
fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts expect earnings of $0.32 per
share, up from a loss of $0.17 per share in the same quarter of
2009.

* Energy shares will be in focus ahead of an output policy
meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) on Wednesday, with crude prices (CLc1: ) steadying at
around $80 a barrel.

* China on Tuesday shunned mounting U.S. demands for a
stronger yuan, saying again that its currency is not the cause
of its big trade surplus and vowing to keep the currency stable
to shore up exports.

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were little changed on Monday as a late
rebound in financial stocks offset nagging worries the Chinese
government may tighten credit, a move that could slow growth in
the global economy.

* Limited Brands Inc (LTD.N: ) shares gained 4.1 percent to
$24.67 in extended trade on Monday after the company announced a
$1 per share special dividend and $200 million share repurchase
program. [ID:nWNAB9608]

* Sequenom Inc (SQNM.O: ) shares tumbled 9.8 percent to $7.00
in extended trade on Monday after the company posted a
wider-than-expected quarterly loss. [ID:nSGE62E0TA]

* In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
shares gained 0.8 percent in early trade on Tuesday, with banks
and oil and gas companies among the biggest gainers.

* Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEHMQ.PK: ) ousted whistle
blower Matthew Lee just weeks after he had raised concerns with
Lehman’s auditor about the firm’s accounting in 2008, the Wall
Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Stock Market Research

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Hans Peters)

Futures point to higher open on Wall St; Fed eyed