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U.S. futures higher amid central bank easing hopes; Dow Jones up 0.21%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Tuesday, as expectations for further easing measures by a number of world central banks supported market sentiment.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.21% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.21% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.29% increase.

Investors remained cautious amid concerns that Italy will be unable to pass structural reforms and austerity measures as the country edged closer to fresh elections after inconclusive elections last week.

Concerns over the outlook for Italy, the euro zone's third largest economy, fuelled speculation over a possible rate cut by the European Central Bank in the coming months.

Stocks were also boosted by expectations for more aggressive easing measures by the Bank of Japan.

Airline companies were expected to be in focus, after Japan's aviation regulators said on Tuesday there are still "several steps" required before any battery fix for Boeing's troubled Dreamliner jet can be approved.

Boeing said this week it was ready to make fixes to its batteries if regulators approve the proposed solution. Shares in the company were down 0.39% in after-hour trade.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice was reportedly seeking additional details of AMR Corp and US Airways Group's proposed USD11 billion merger, which aims to create the world's largest airline.

Oil stocks were also expected to be active, as BP, which lost its first deal to drill for oil in Russia's Arctic to ExxonMobil, was again beaten to the punch by its U.S. rival in negotiations for a new deal with Russian state oil company Rosneft.

Elsewhere, General Motors said that it and its China joint ventures sold 215,070 vehicles in the country in February, down 10.6% from a year earlier. GM shares inched up 0.04% in pre-market trade.

Among pharmaceuticals, Impax Laboratories said U.S. health regulators raised fresh concerns related to manufacturing practices at the drugmaker's Hayward, California facility, sending shares plummeting 16.75% in late trading.

Other stocks in focus included VeriFone, due to report fourth quarter earnings after the closing bell.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were sharply lower. The EURO STOXX 50 jumped 1.41%, France's CAC 40 rallied 1.23%, Germany's DAX surged 1.62%, while Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.75%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.1%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.27%.

Later in the day, the U.S. Institute of Supply Management was to release a report on service sector activity. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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