US STOCKS-Futures rise on hopes of more Chinese stimulus steps
* Futures up: Dow 181 pts, S&P 20 pts, Nasdaq 50 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
Sept 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose sharply on Wednesday as positive comments from Chinese officials kept alive hopes of further stimulus measures for the economy calmed investors.
* China's Ministry of Finance said the government will strengthen fiscal policy, boost infrastructure spending and speed up reform of its tax system, adding to other steps to reenergize sputtering growth.
* The Shanghai Composite closed 2.3 percent higher and the CSI 300 index rose 1.96 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 4.5 percent.
* U.S. stocks closed up more than 2 percent on Tuesday, bouncing after steep losses last week.
* The stock market gains were sparked by a rally in Chinese shares on Tuesday, when weaker-than-expected August trade reinforced investors' expectations that Beijing would act to bolster slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.
* Investors will also keep an eye on data scheduled to be released later on Wednesday, including job openings and labor turnover numbers for July. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, are likely to have risen to 5.288 million in July from 5.249 million in the prior month.
* Some investors have argued that the recent market volatility will force the U.S. Federal Reserve to wait until the year-end to raise long-term interest rates. Continuación...