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Stock futures up as weak China GDP raises stimulus hopes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were higher on Tuesday after China’s slowest annual growth rate in 25 years raised hopes of further stimulus measures from Beijing.

* China’s 2015 growth hit 6.9 percent after the fourth quarter slowed to 6.8 percent, capping a tumultuous year in which concerns about Beijing ability to rebalance the slowing economy have rattled investors across markets.

* The weak growth in China also prompted the International Monetary Fund to cut its global growth forecasts for the third time in less than a year.

* Crude prices, languishing near 12 year lows as an oversupplied market braced for Iran’s oil coming online, were up on an uptick in Chinese oil demand. Benchmark Brent rose nearly 6 percent to $30.19. [O/R]

* Global stocks rose, with investors hopeful of continued stimulus measures from central banks around the world even as the U.S. Federal Reserve looks to tighten monetary policy.

* Wall Street is coming off a massive selloff on Friday that saw the S&P 500 sinking to its lowest since October 2014.

* Investor focus is also on U.S. corporate earnings reports for a bearing on the impact of the global slowdown on results. S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 4.7 percent drop in quarterly profit, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* Shares of Bank of America were up 1.7 percent at $14.70 premarket after the bank reported a 9.8 percent rise in quarterly profit.

* Morgan Stanley was up 3.4 percent at $26.85 after it reported a quarterly profit, compared with a year-earlier loss.

* Johnson & Johnson was up 1 percent at $98 after it confirmed its 2015 earnings forecast and said it would cut 4-6 percent of jobs at its medical devices business.

* Tiffany was down 3.8 percent at $65.10 after the upscale jeweler said holiday season sales fell 6 percent.

* Yahoo was up nearly 3 percent at $30 after Barron’s said the company’s stock could benefit from a sale of its core internet business.

* IBM was up 1 percent, while Netflix rose 2.5 percent ahead of their results after the close.

Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 268 points, or 1.68 percent, with 141,080 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 31.5 points, or 1.68 percent, with 692,129 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 72.25 points, or 1.74 percent, on volume of 122,035 contracts.


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