* Fischer says U.S. recovery has been “disappointing”
* Geopolitical issues may be market’s biggest driver
* MannKind signs agreement with Sanofi, shares jump
* Kinder Morgan up on $70 bln deal to consolidate assets
* Futures up: Dow 75 pts, S&P 10 pts, Nasdaq 22.5 pts (Updates prices, adds Fischer comments)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Monday, suggesting that Friday’s sharp rally could continue as it appeared less likely that the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine would escalate.
* Equities were also given a boost by Stanley Fischer, the vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, who said the recoveries in the U.S. and global economies had been “disappointing” thus far, indicating the Fed may not imminently tighten its monetary policy.
* “It appears Fischer believes accommodative monetary policy can help keep cyclical slowdown factors from turning structural, which is dovish in the short run but argues for a potentially higher neutral rate than otherwise in the longer run,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note to clients.
* The S&P 500 and Dow on Friday posted their best day since March on news that Russia was ending military drills near the Ukrainian border, a move that was seen as indicating Russia would not send troops into Ukraine anytime soon. European shares rose more than 1 percent on Monday.
* With earnings season nearly over, market action is likely to see an outsized influence from geopolitical issues, especially from the Middle East due to the region’s impact on the commodities markets.
* The United States recently launched air strikes in Iraq targeting Islamic State fighters marching on the country’s Kurdish capital. The U.S. is also pushing for a new Iraq government, which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been battling to prevent, deploying forces across Baghdad as some parliamentary allies sought a replacement.
* Israel and the Palestinians agreed on Sunday to an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza.
* The CBOE Volatility index has been at relatively elevated levels of late, closing above 15 every day this month. While 15 is well below the VIX’s long-term average of 20, it follows a multi-month period where the so-called “fear index” rarely closed above 13.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 10 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 75 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 22.5 points.
* Kinder Morgan Inc on Sunday said it would put all its publicly traded units under one roof in a $70 billion deal, an amount including $27 billion in assumed debt. The company was responding to investor concerns about its growth prospects and complicated financial structure. Shares jumped 17 percent to $42.10 in premarket trading.
* In company news, MannKind Corp rose 22 percent to $9.95 in premarket trading after French drugmaker Sanofi signed a worldwide licensing agreement with the company worth up to $925 million. MannKind was the Nasdaq’s most active premarket mover. (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)