Futures higher as oil shows glimmers of recovery

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[February 03, 2016]  By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday as oil prices recovered slightly and investors awaited a fresh batch of U.S. economic data, including a report on job growth in the private sector.

* Oil prices pared some losses after Russia reiterated its openness to talking with OPEC about output cuts, which helped revive hope among investors that the world's largest producers could act to boost prices.

* Shares of oil majors Exxon and Chevron were up about 0.4 percent in premarket trading.

* Oil prices have fallen about 70 percent in the past 18 months, hit by a growing glut and cooling economic growth in China and other emerging markets.

* Falling oil prices, tepid U.S. growth and fears regarding a China-led global slowdown have been major factors for a torrid start to the year for stocks. The S&P 500 is already down 6.9 percent this year.

* Investors have also been keeping a keen eye on U.S. economic data for clues regarding the pace of future rate hikes by the Fed. Fed fund futures are pricing in only one hike this year, below the projection by the Fed's policy board members that rates could be increased four times.

* Payrolls processor ADP is likely to report that private employers added 195,000 jobs in January, lower than the 257,000 they added in December. The data is expected at 8:15 a.m. ET and comes ahead of the more comprehensive employment report by the U.S. government on Friday.

* At 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the ISM is expected to report that its non-manufacturing sector index slipped to 55.1 in January from 55.3 in December.

* Weak quarterly earnings by U.S. corporations are adding to worries. Fourth-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to have fallen 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* Big names scheduled to report on Wednesday includes Metlife, Yum Brands, General Motors and Comcast.

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* Chipotle Mexican Grill was down 6.5 percent at $445, a day after the burrito chain said a criminal probe linked to a food-safety incident at a California restaurant has widened into a national investigation.

* Yahoo was down 2.3 percent at $28.40 after the company said it would consider "strategic alternatives" for its core Internet business and cut about 15 percent of its workforce.

Futures snapshot at 7:15 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 56 points, or 0.35 percent, with 45,538 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.75 points, or 0.41 percent, with 290,262 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9.75 points, or 0.23 percent, on volume of 45,463 contracts.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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