Stock futures rise on signs of strong global economic growth

By Sruthi Shankar Wall Street Reuters

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(Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher opening for Wall Street on Wednesday as signs of quickening economic activity around the world encouraged risk-on sentiment among investors.

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Wall Street kicked off 2018 on a strong note on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closing at record levels as technology stocks advanced.

In premarket trading on Wednesday, chipmakers Nvidia (NVDA), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Micron (MU) were up between 1 percent and 4 percent.

Oracle's (ORCL) shares jumped about 2 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded to "overweight", saying the company's current low valuations created opportunity for earnings to drive share prices.

IBM (IBM) rose 1.5 percent following brokerage RBC's upgrade to "outperform".

At 7:03 a.m. ET (1203 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 43 points, or 0.17 percent, with 11,327 contracts changing hands.

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S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.15 percent, with 78,130 contracts traded.

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Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.2 percent, on volume of 15,435 contracts.

The Federal Open Market Committee is set to release minutes from its December meeting, when the central bank raised interest rates for the third time in 2017.

Investors will parse the minutes, due at 2:00 p.m. ET, for hints on rate tightening action in the coming months and the impact of the U.S. tax overhaul on the economy and inflation.

The odds of a March rate hike are at 56.3 percent level, according to the CME Group's Fedwatch tool.

The Institute for Supply Management is likely to report that its manufacturing index edged lower to 58.1 in December from 58.2 in November. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Meanwhile, industry surveys from major economies including Europe showed quickening activity.

In other stock moves, MoneyGram International <MGI.O> fell about 5 percent after Alibaba-owned Ant Financial's plan to acquire the U.S. money transfer company in a $1.2 billion deal collapsed due to national security concerns.

Harley-Davidson (HOG) slipped 2.3 percent after brokerage Longbow Research downgraded the company's stock to "underperform".

Morgan Stanley (MS) gained 0.77 percent after two brokerages hiked their price targets on the Wall Street bank's stock.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)