Bolsa, mercados y cotizaciones

Stock futures signal gains; Hartford in focus

(Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 all up around 0.2 percent.

After the bell on Tuesday, shares of HARTFORD (HIG.NY)Financial Services Group Inc dropped 3 percent as the company announced a plan to repay the U.S. Treasury.

U.S. office products retailer Staples Inc has offered to buy out minority shareholders of Corporate Express Australia for A$390 million, in a deal long-awaited since Staples took over the group's Dutch parent.

Simon Property Group Inc is weighing a higher bid for General Growth Properties Inc after the No.2 U.S. mall owner came up with a rival plan to emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone company, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Chinese firms selling advertising space on Google's search pages have demanded clarity about the Internet company's plans in China, warning they will demand compensation if it shuts its Chinese portal.

Implanted devices from Boston Scientific Corp helped patients with early heart failure in a study, but the benefits may be less significant in the marketplace, U.S. regulators said in documents released on Tuesday.

Pfizer on Wednesday will place an offer in the final round of bids for German generic drug maker Ratiopharm, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters.

Oil prices extended gains to above $82 a barrel on Wednesday, supported by a weaker dollar and an industry report that showed a steep fall in U.S. gasoline stockpiles.

Dubai World will offer banks a single proposal to repay in full the $26 billion debt it is renegotiating, with interest likely linked to LIBOR, Al Arabiya reported on Wednesday.

On the macro front, investors awaited the February producer price index.

The Nikkei average hit an eight-week closing high on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan eased policy in a move seen by many as an attempt to prevent the yen from rising, while European stocks were up 0.5 percent in morning trade, led higher by banking shares.

U.S. stocks rose to a fresh 17-month high on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve held benchmark rates near zero and maintained its pledge to keep them low for an extended period.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 43.83 points, or 0.41 percent, to end at 10,685.98. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 8.95 points, or 0.78 percent, to finish at 1,159.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 15.80 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 2,378.01. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Karen Foster)