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US STOCKS-Wall Street to rise ahead of data, Europe supports

Rodrigo Campos
Monday, 6 Jan 2014 | 9:13 AM ET

* Men's Wearhouse launches hostile bid for Jos. A. Bank

* Twitter shares slide in premarket after downgrade

* Ford boosts China sales, roars past Toyota and Honda

* Futures up: Dow 39 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 0.5 pts

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Monday, ahead of services sector and factory goods data that could provide clues on the momentum in U.S. economic growth at the start of the new year.

Service industry growth slowed sharply in China in December but picked up across most of Europe, suggesting that an uneven global economic performance persists even as most signs point to a strengthening U.S. revival.

U.S. private sector economic activity growth slowed slightly in December, with the services sector reading also edging lower, a report from financial data firm Markit showed.

The more widely followed Institute for Supply Management's services index, as well as data on factory orders, are due at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT).

"China data was slightly weaker than hoped for, but there was good news with the euro zone as a whole pulling out of recession," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

Cardillo didn't expect much of a move on Wall Street on Monday, with traders sidelined ahead of the release of minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting Wednesday, and the key jobs report for December on Friday.

S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were above 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 futures rose 39 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.5 points.

Icy conditions snarled travel across the U.S. Midwest and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the weekend, as forecasters warned that life-threatening cold was heading eastward.

"This cold weather front is likely to impact economic activity somewhat," said Cardillo.

Liberty Media said Friday it would offer to buy out the minority shareholders in satellite radio provider Sirius XM . Sirius shares jumped 7.8 percent in premarket trading.

Apparel retailer Men's Wearhouse mounted a hostile bid for rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers with a raised offer, days after the smaller rival raised its buyout defenses. Shares of both companies were up more than 3.5 percent in premarket trading.

Twitter shares fell 6.2 percent in premarket trading after being downgraded at Morgan Stanley. The stock has surged nearly 70 percent in the past six weeks.

Ford Motor Co and its local partners boosted sales in China by nearly 50 percent last year, nudging past Japanese giants Toyota and Honda to make big inroads into the world's largest auto market. Ford shares edged up 0.6 percent in light premarket trading.

Solar panel shares were in focus. ReneSola jumped 10.6 percent in premarket trading after it secured a contract to supply solar panels to a solar project developer based in Japan; SolarCity was up 10.8 percent in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs added it to its "conviction buy" list.

The U.S. Senate is set to vote at 5:30 p.m. (2230 GMT) to confirm Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. Yellen has been the central bank's vice chair since 2010 and is widely seen as continuing the policies set in place by current chair, Ben Bernanke.