U.S. stock index futures signal small gains

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open
on Wall Street on Tuesday, with futures for the S&P 500 (SPc1: )
up 0.2 percent, Dow Jones (DJc1: ) futures up 0.08 percent and
Nasdaq 100 (NDc1: ) futures up 0.02 percent at 1000 GMT.

* U.S. crude prices rose above $91 a barrel, hovering below
a 26-month top hit in the previous session, supported by a
weaker dollar and hopes that a major snow storm on the U.S. East
Coast would stoke demand for heating oil.

* The dollar extended its falls against the yen on Tuesday,
hitting its lowest in six and a half weeks, as the single
currency came under broad selling pressure in thin
post-Christmas trade.

* Japan’s Nikkei average slipped 0.6 percent on Tuesday as
falls in Chinese shares and a slightly firmer yen prompted light
profit-taking, but it was supported by strong Japanese output
data and healthy technical signals.

* European shares edged higher, led by healthcare and
technology stocks, in holiday-thinned trade on Tuesday with
London markets still closed.

* Bailed-out insurer American International Group (AIG.N: )
took another step toward winding down its U.S. government
support on Monday by securing $4.3 billion of bank credit lines,
and company shares surged.

* U.S.-based Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O: ) is looking at having
a second stab at setting up a market in Japan with the Osaka
Securities Exchange (8697.OS: ), hoping to attract investors from
emerging Asian economies, domestic media reported.

* China cut its first batch of rare earth export quotas for
next year by more than one-tenth, in the face of a threat by the
United States to complain to the World Trade Organisation over
the export limits.

* Wall Street erased earlier losses and ended little changed
on Monday as investors shrugged off a surprise weekend interest
rate hike from China’s central bank.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) settled down 20.73
points, or 0.18 percent, at 11,552.76. The Standard & Poor’s 500
Index (.SPX: ) was up 0.74 points, or 0.06 percent, at 1,257.51.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was up 4.25 points, or 0.16
percent, at 2,669.85.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

U.S. stock index futures signal small gains