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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Rise as Putin Says No Need for Troops

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures rose, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will rebound from its biggest loss in a month, as comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled the Ukraine crisis won’t immediately escalate.

Qualcomm Inc. gained 3.1 percent after raising its dividend and boosting its buyback plan. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. gained 4.9 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG lifted its rating on the teen-apparel retailer. RadioShack Corp. plunged 21 percent after sales missed analysts’ estimates.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in March rose 0.9 percent to 1,860.50 at 8:23 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts increased 156 points, or 1 percent, to 16,304 today.

“There’s quite a lot of noise right now,” Gunther Westen, who helps oversee about $35 billion as head of asset allocation and fund management at Meriten Investment Management GmbH in Dusseldorf, Germany, said by telephone. “On the geopolitical front, you have Ukraine in the limelight. This is certainly a threat, but market concerns tend to fade as long as the situation doesn’t get worse or as long as the economies are not heavily influenced.”

The S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent from a record yesterday, the most since Feb. 3, joining a global selloff in equities on concern that Russia’s military presence in Ukraine could lead to a larger conflict. Putin got parliamentary approval over the weekend to send troops into the country.

Global Rally

Stocks rallied today after Putin said in his first public remarks since the ouster of former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych last month that he’d only send soldiers to Ukraine in an extreme case.

The MSCI All-Country World Index increased 0.5 percent, rebounding from its biggest drop in a month. The Europe Stoxx 600 jumped 1.8 percent and Russia’s Micex Index climbed 5.3 percent after $55 billion was erased from the value of the country’s equities yesterday. The yen weakened against all of its 16 major peers and gold fell 1.3 percent.

Secretary of State John Kerry arrives today in Kiev as the U.S. and its European allies seek ways to increase economic and diplomatic pressure to deter Russian military escalation in Ukraine’s Crimea region. President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies are preparing sanctions to show Russia that continuing its current actions will be costly.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy yesterday called a March 6 emergency EU summit, where leaders may debate measures to punish Russia if it doesn’t back off.

Bull Market

The S&P 500’s decline yesterday erased its gain for the year after the gauge rallied 4.3 percent in February to close at a record 1,859.45. Investors have been speculating that recent weakness in data from housing to jobs was caused by inclement weather and that the Federal Reserve will continue to support the economy.

U.S. equities completed a rebound last week from a selloff spurred by emerging-market turmoil that erased 5.8 percent between Jan. 15 and Feb. 3, the biggest retreat since June.

U.S. equities are set to enter the sixth year of a bull market that started March 9, 2009. Three rounds of stimulus have helped push the S&P 500 up 173 percent from a 12-year low.

Facebook Inc. climbed 1.8 percent to $68.65. The social- network site owner may buy Titan Aerospace for $60 million, according to TechCrunch, which cited an unidentified person with access to information about the deal. The stock has declined five straight days.

Qualcomm jumped 3.1 percent to $75.90. The biggest provider of mobile-phone chips, boosted its quarterly dividend by 20 percent to 42 cents a share, while giving itself leeway to buy back an additional $5 billion in shares.

Clothes, Panels

Abercrombie & Fitch added 4.9 percent to $41.20. Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the New Albany, Ohio-based company to outperform, similar to a buy rating, from neutral, saying a more competitive pricing strategy, tighter cost controls and inventory management, among other initiatives, will help boost earnings.

SunEdison Inc. gained 5.9 percent to $19.79. Morgan Stanley raised the St. Peters, Missouri-based provider of solar energy technology to overweight, similar to a buy rating.

RadioShack tumbled 21 percent to $2.15. The electronics chain posted fourth-quarter sales that missed analysts’ estimates and said it would close as many as 1,100 locations.

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