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Stock futures signal firmer Wall Street opening

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday, pointing to a stronger start for Wall Street. By 0928 GMT, Dow Jones futures put on 0.2 percent, S&P futures gained 0.1 percent and Nasdaq futures rose 0.5 percent.

President Barack Obama will pitch his bid to revamp the U.S. healthcare system as a way to control big insurance company rate increases when he releases his healthcare plan on Monday, the White House said.

Schlumberger Ltd agreed to buy Smith International in a $11.34 billion all-stock deal that will boost the oilfield services leader's revenue to double that of its nearest rival.

Campbell Soup is expected to report an earnings per share of $0.74 for the second quarter versus $0.65 same period last year.

Lowe's Co is expected to post an EPS of $0.12 for the fourth quarter, up from $0.11 a year ago.

Constellation Energy Group is expected to post an EPS of $0.25 for the fourth quarter, up from $0.03 a year ago.

Other companies reporting results on Monday include Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, DTE Energy, Nordstrom, Quanta Services and RadioShack Corp.

Citigroup said on Monday it had hired several senior officials in India in recent months for its equities sales, trading and execution business to boost its presence in Asia's third-largest economy.

Asset manager BlackRock Inc plans to start a hedge fund that would invest in Asian corporate bonds, Bloomberg said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Regulators seized four more U.S. banks on Friday, bringing the total for the year to 20.

A document claiming Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> saved over $100 million by getting U.S. regulators to agree a cheap fix for unintended acceleration problems raised pressure on the company's president as he arrived in Washington to prepare for a grilling from congress.

Five former Treasury secretaries urged Congress on Sunday to bar banks that receive federal support from engaging in speculative activity unrelated to basic bank services.

The dollar weakened on Monday as investors reassessed the chances of an earlier than expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, prompting a degree of recovery in risk appetite.

In Europe the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> share index fell 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> advanced 2.7 percent.

U.S. stocks rose on Friday as investors took the Federal Reserve's discount rate increase as evidence that the financial system is healing but worried that the eventual withdrawal of easy money will hurt Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 9.45 points, or 0.09 percent, to 10,402.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 2.42 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,109.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> edged up 2.16 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,243.87.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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