US STOCKS-Futures point to higher open as Ukraine tensions ease

miércoles 26 de marzo de 2014 08:57 GYT

* West holds off on more severe sanctions against Russia

* Facebook buys Oculus for $2 bln, shares up in premarket

* U.S. unemployment to fall below 6 pct in 2014 -Bullard

* Futures up: Dow 70 pts, S&P 5.7 pts, Nasdaq 9.25 pts (Adds durable goods data)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street Wednesday as geopolitical tensions eased after Western powers agreed to hold off on more damaging economic sanctions against Russia unless it went beyond its seizure of Crimea.

* Futures were supported by durable goods data, which rose more than expected in February, ending two straight months of declines. The report followed other positive reads on the economy that ended weakness earlier this year related to bad weather rather than worsening fundamentals.

* Tensions between the United States and Russia have been a major market focus in recent sessions, although the issue has not translated to protracted market losses. Investors have been concerned about the economic fallout of any escalation in the biggest East-West conflict since the Cold War, though few U.S. companies have direct exposure to the region.

* U.S. President Barack Obama said Russian forces would not be removed militarily from Crimea, although the international community still didn't recognize Russia's annexation of the region. Moscow said it was keen to maintain contact with G8 partners.   Continuación...