Futures higher as oil recovers; Fed minutes awaited

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[April 06, 2016]  By Abhiram Nandakumar

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday as oil rose and investors awaited the release of minutes from Federal Reserve's March policy meeting.

* Crude rose more than 2 percent on renewed hopes of a deal by producers to freeze output and cut a global glut. [O/R]

* Investors will parse the minutes to gain insight into the Fed's thinking on the state of the economy and monetary policy.

* The market has been grappling with mixed signals from central bank officials, with some supporting an aggressive plan to raise rates, while Fed Chair Janet Yellen staying cautious.

* Several Fed officials are slated to speak on Wednesday, including Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard. Both are voting members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

* Adding to the uncertainty was a barrage of mixed data suggesting a recovering U.S. economy could still be susceptible to risks from a weak global economy.

* Wall Street fell sharply on Tuesday as investors booked profits from a recent rally, leaving the S&P 500 flat for 2016.

* Cisco shares were up 1.9 percent at $28.10 after JP Morgan raised its rating on the stock to neutral.

* Allergan fell 2.3 percent to $231, continuing its slide from Tuesday, after new rules aimed at curbing tax inversions effectively killed its $160 billion merger with Pfizer. Pfizer shares rose 0.8 percent to $31.60.

Futures snapshot at 7:29 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis  were up 27 points, or 0.15 percent, with 25,024 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis  were up 3.75 points, or 0.18 percent, with 187,096 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.16 percent, on volume of 23,015 contracts.

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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