US STOCKS-Futures climb as investors await ECB, data

Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:43am EST
 
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* ECB President Draghi to speak before market open

* Crude oil jumps, building on Wednesday gain

* F5 Networks down in premarket after results, outlook

* Futures up: Dow 44 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 6.25 pts (Updates trading, adds earnings and National City news)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures gained slightly as investors awaited confirmation that the European Central Bank would announce new economic stimulus measures at a meeting on Thursday.

The ECB is widely expected to unveil a large bond-buying program, which is designed to combat the risk of deflation and a weakening euro zone economy. A source told Reuters Wednesday the Executive Board had proposed that the bank buys 50 billion euros ($58 billion) in bonds per month from March.

Equities rose on that report, with many U.S. stocks standing to benefit from accommodative programs in Europe, one of the United States' key trading partners.

ECB President Mario Draghi will speak to the media at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT), and if the details of the plan are perceived as inadequate to return inflation to target, that could spur market losses, especially with the benchmark S&P 500 within 3 percent of its record closing high.   Continued...