* Futures up: Dow 23 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 7.50 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Monday as stocks continued to recover from a brutal selloff that had gripped the market for most of the year.
* Global stocks rose, led by gains in Chinese shares. Top Chinese officials said on Sunday that the world’s second largest economy was showing signs of improvement.
* Crude prices fell amid uncertainty about major exporters reaching an agreement to freeze production and signs of U.S. producers increasing drilling activity.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve’s accommodative move last week to cut back on the number of rate hikes this year to two helped push stocks higher.
* The S&P 500 on Friday turned positive for the first time in 2016, closing up 0.25 percent, recovering from a more than 10 percent fall earlier in the year.
* Investors will now look for signs that the U.S. economy continues to recover, with expectations for corporate earnings improving and commodity prices edging up, even as weak global conditions casts a pall on sentiment.
* Data on Monday includes U.S. existing home sales, which are expected to have dropped 2.2 percent in February. The report is due at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).
* Shares of Nike were up 1.5 percent at $63.96 premarket after JP Morgan raised its price target on the stock and added it to a focus list as a growth strategy pick.
* Intel was down 1.8 percent at $32.10, Sherwin-Williams fell 2 percent to $283 and Transocean was down 3.3 percent at $10.42 after rating downgrades.
* Cognizant Technology was up 1.3 percent at $60 after the company said it recommends shareholders reject a share purchase offer by TRC Capital.
Futures snapshot at 6:58 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 23 points, or 0.13 percent, with 18,843 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, with 124,996 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.17 percent, on volume of 18,129 contracts. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)