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U.S. stocks were set to open higher Wednesday, as investors welcomed a $20 billion merger in the pharmaceutical sector.
After a long flirtation, French drugmaker Sanofi-aventis agreed to buy Genzyme for $20.1 billion in cash. The deal was announced before the opening bell. Sanofi (SA) shares rose 1.4% higher, while Genzyme (GENZ, Fortune 500)'s stock edged up about 1% in premarket trading.
Tech stocks will likely gain some traction as well after Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) reported a fourth-quarter profit that more than doubled from a year earlier, even as revenue came in just shy of estimates. Shares of Dell jumped 7% in premarket trading.
Companies: Discount retailer Family Dollar (FDO, Fortune 500) confirmed Wednesday that it had received an unsolicited proposal from Nelson Peltz's Trian Group, to buy the company for a price between $55 and $60 per share in cash.
Economy: Before the bell PPI report showed index rose 0.8% in Jan with core rose +0.5% (above the median +0.2%).
Separate report showed Jan housing starts rose 14.6% to 596k, well above 540k expected but permits fell 10.4% to 562k.
At 1530GMT, the EIA Crude Oil Stocks data is released.
Also on traders radar screens will be the 1900GMT release of the Fed's January 26 FOMC meeting minutes.
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