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STOCK FUTURES INDICATE HIGHER OPEN FOR WALL STREET

By NBF News
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PARIS : United States stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Tuesday, after President Barack Obama announced plans to extend tax breaks, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares was up by 1.1 per cent at 1117.37 points, within a whisker of a two-year high, with sectors across the board rising.

Irish Prime Minister, Mr. Brian Cowen, was expected to get his fiscal plan through parliament and avert the risk of a snap election.

Obama announced a framework agreement with Republicans that would renew tax cuts for wealthier Americans, as well as the middle class, as Republicans had wanted. The deal was expected to extend breaks on dividends and capital gains.

Japanese group Daikin Industries, the world's second-biggest maker of air conditioners, is in talks to buy US-based rival Goodman Global Group from a US buyout firm, Bloomberg reported.

Oil fell from a 26-month high on reports from China, the world's second-largest crude user, will raise interest rates as soon as this weekend, dampening investor enthusiasm for commodities driven by Asian demand.

The China Securities Journal reported this weekend offered a 'sensitive window' for a rate rise, which would be the country's second in its current tightening cycle.

The US government sold its remaining shares in Citigroup Incorporated on Monday for $4.35 apiece, marking an exit from ownership in the bailed-out bank, with a $12bn gross profit for taxpayers.

Economic indicators on tap for Tuesday included the weekly ICSC/Goldman Sachs chain store sales, the Retail Sales Index of department and chain store sales, and the IBD consumer confidence index for December. Also, the Federal Reserve will issues October consumer credit.

On the earnings side, AutoZone and H&R Block featured among companies set to report quarterly results.

Worries about Europe's debt crisis frustrated investors looking for a reason to take stocks to new highs for the year, as major indexes ended flat on Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped by 19.90 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 11,362.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 1.59 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,223.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained by 3.46 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,594.92.