US STOCKS-Futures up on ECB hopes, merger activity
* Hillshire Brands shares jump after Pilgrim's Pride bid
* Futures up: Dow 62 pts, S&P 7.5 pts, Nasdaq 19 pts
NEW YORK May 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday, ahead of a data-heavy session, as expectations for rates cuts by the European Central Bank stoked bids for equities even as the benchmark S&P 500 index closed at a record on Friday.
* ECB chief Mario Draghi said on Monday the bank must be "particularly watchful" for any negative price spiral in the euro zone. That added to suggestions from other ECB policymakers that the bank was ready to cut rates next week to counter low inflation and weak lending in the euro zone, keeping asset purchases as an option.
* U.S. data include durable goods for April at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), followed half an hour later by two separate gauges of home prices for March. Markit's final services sector PMI for May follows at 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT) and at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT) the Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence is due.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 7.5 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 62 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 19 points.
* Pfizer shares edged up 0.7 percent in premarket trading a day after the U.S. drugmaker walked away from its bid to buy AstraZeneca for nearly 70 billion pounds ($118 billion). U.S.-traded AstraZeneca shares dropped 1.6 percent.
* Shares of packaged food company Hillshire Brands jumped 23 percent in premarket trading after poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride offered to buy Hillshire in a deal valued at $6.4 billion. Shares of Pinnacle Foods, which is in the process of being acquired by Hillshire, fell 6.8 percent.
* China has told its state-owned enterprises to sever links with American consulting firms just days after the United States charged five Chinese military officers with hacking U.S. companies, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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