US STOCKS-Wall St set to rise on economy, M&A bets

* S&P 500 could break out at the open, bring in buyers

* Miners on focus as gold hits record high, silver up

* German industrial orders rise far beyond expectations

* Futures up: Dow 62 pts, S&P 7.5 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates prices)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to rise
at the open on Wednesday as investors bet the upcoming earnings
season and more merger activity will continue to lift equities
higher.

The S&P 500 struggled for a third day on Tuesday to close
above a key resistance level at 1,333. But futures hovered near
the highest levels in a month and pointed to a pop at the open
that could bring more buyers on expectations of a technical
breakout.

“We bumped up with resistance and are getting a little bit
of consolidation, but once we get through this earnings season,
we’ll continue to move higher,” said Robert Pavlik, chief
market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC in Palm Beach Gardens,
Florida. “I still think there’s plenty of room to go higher.”

He said the cash war chest held by major corporations will
continue to fuel mergers and acquisitions as well as share
buybacks, supporting further gains in stocks.

Miner shares could see increased interest as gold prices
rallied to a record high against a backdrop of a weaker U.S.
dollar and investor worries over inflation and unrest in North
Africa and the Middle East. Silver touched a fresh 31-year
peak. [ID:nL9E7EL002].

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 2 percent to
$57.76 before the open. Gold for June delivery (GCv1: Quote, Profile, Research) rallied
to a record high at $1,462.30 an ounce. [ID:nLDE7350OK].

Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) shares gained 2.4 percent to $39.39
in premarket trading after Oppenheimer raised its rating on the
chipmaker to “outperform” from “perform” and set a price target
of $55. [ID:nL3E7F61DU].

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 7.5 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 62
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) added 17 points.

After hitting its lowest in more than two years in January,
the relative performance of the Dow industrials against the
broader S&P 500 has held above 1 and is on an uptrend as blue
chips grab investors’ attention amid uncertainty over the
Middle East and the impact of Japan’s earthquake.

Purchases of major items sent German industrial orders
soaring above expectations in February, data showed on
Wednesday, in a sign Europe’s largest economy was further
outshining its peers. Orders grew by 2.4 percent on the month,
compared to the Reuters forecast for an increase of 0.6
percent. [ID:nLDE7350XH].

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

With a U.S. government shutdown looming, congressional
negotiators will meet again on Wednesday and could be called to
the White House for a second meeting to search for a deal on
federal budget cuts. [ID:nN05158193].
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Wall St set to rise on economy, M&A bets