US STOCKS-Bets on earnings, economy lift futures

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) – Futures on the S&P 500 hit
their highest level in more than a month on Wednesday as
investors bet the upcoming earnings season and more merger
activity will continue to lift equities higher.

* The S&P 500 struggled on Tuesday and Wednesday to close
above a key resistance level at 1,333, but futures pointed to a
pop at the open that could bring more buyers on expectations of
a breakout.

* Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) shares gained 1.8 percent to
$39.13 in light premarket trading after Oppenheimer raised its
rating on the chipmaker to “outperform” from “perform” and set
a price target of $55. For details see [ID:nL3E7F61DU].

* S&P 500 futures (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 8.1 points and were above
fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into
account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 74
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) added 20 points.

* The euro rose to a 14-month high against the dollar,
ahead of an expected interest rate rise by the European Central
Bank. Traders also cited buying by Asian central banks.

* Gold prices rallied to record highs against a backdrop of
a weaker dollar and investor worries over inflation and unrest
in the Arab world, while silver touched fresh 31-year peaks.
[ID:nL9E7EL002]

* With time running short, U.S. President Barack Obama was
faced with a deadlock in budget talks between fellow Democrats
and Republicans that threatens a partial shutdown of the U.S.
government.

* On Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research), Dow
Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) and Nasdaq Composite Index
(.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) ended little changed.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Bets on earnings, economy lift futures