US STOCKS-Wall St to open flat ahead of Fed minutes; M&A eyed
* Fed minutes due at 1800 GMT
* Dow, S&P, Nasdaq e-minis each up 0.1 pct or less (Adds Rite Aid, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open little changed on Wednesday, with traders eyeing a $70 billion mega-deal in the energy space and ahead of minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee.
* Royal Dutch Shell said it would buy rival BG Group for $70 billion, closing the gap on market leader U.S. Exxon Mobil. U.S.-traded Shell shares fell 1.7 percent in the premarket after the announcement of the first major oil industry merger in more than a decade.
* Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's March policy meeting, in which the Fed downgraded its economic growth and inflation projections while leaving the door open to kick-start its tightening path, are expected at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). Traders will search for clues on the central bank's next move.
* Private equity firms Blackstone Group and Corsair Capital are in talks to acquire a major stake in First Eagle Investment Management, valuing the company at around $4 billion, including debt.
* Lions Gate shares fell 5.9 percent after the company announced a secondary offering of about 10 million shares by funds affiliated with MHR fund management, its largest shareholder.
* As the reporting season starts to gain momentum, first-quarter S&P 500 earnings are projected to show a decline of 2.8 percent from a year earlier, which would be the worst results since the third quarter of 2009. Continuación...