Stock index futures point to slightly higher open

LONDON (Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Thursday.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones rose 0.2 percent, while contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were up 0.1 percent at 0852 GMT.

European shares also rose as investors took heart from fresh signs that central banks would continue steps to support the world's economy.

Revised U.S. GDP data at 1330 GMT is expected to show the U.S. economy grew by 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, rather than a 0.1 percent contraction as initially estimated.

Weekly new jobless claims figures, due at the same time, are seen slowing to 360,000 from 362,000 in the previous seven days.

February's Chicago PMI, due out at 1445 GMT, is expected to come in at 54.3, from 55.6 last month.

Liberty Media Corp , which holds a large stake in Barnes & Noble, said on Wednesday it had the power to block a sale of Barnes & Nobles' retail stores and it is waiting to see whether the bookseller's chairman Leonard Riggio will make an offer.

J.C. Penney Co Inc on Wednesday reported its sharpest sales drop since announcing a grand transformation plan 13 months ago, sending shares in the department store operator's shares down 14.5 percent in after hours trading.

Groupon Inc lost a quarter of its market value in after hours trading on Wednesday after the company revealed it began to take a smaller cut of revenue on daily deals during the holidays, sacrificing revenue and profits to attract and keep merchants.

Business software provider and clothes retailer Gap are due to report results after the market close.

U.S. authorities investigating possible insider trading in ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co are studying a derivatives bet that was routed through London, the New York Times reported, citing two people briefed on the matter.

Bond insurer MBIA Inc said there was a significant risk that its structured finance insurance unit would be put into liquidation or rehabilitation by its New York regulator if it was unable to settle its claims with Bank of America .

Generic drugmaker Mylan Inc said it will buy a unit of India's Strides Arcolab Ltd for $1.6 billion to expand its presence in the fast-growing injectable drugs market.

The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it has won a $1 billion tax shelter case against Dow Chemical Co that involved a Swiss partnership, Wall Street financial giant Goldman Sachs and international law firm King & Spalding.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> was up 176.32 points, or 1.27 percent, at 14,076.45 on Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> was up 19.07 points, or 1.27 percent, at 1,516.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> was up 32.61 points, or 1.04 percent, at 3,162.26.

(Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alison Williams)

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