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US STOCKS-Futures inch up, bitcoin grabs investor interest

* Futures up: Dow 46 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 7.25 pts

Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher opening for Wall Street on Monday, with the launch of bitcoin futures raising investor interest in cryptocurrency related companies.

* Shares of Marathon Patent, Riot Blockchain , Overstock.com and Xunei were up between 3.8 percent and 8 percent in premarket trading.

* Bitcoin futures jumped more than 20 percent in the U.S. debut on Sunday, which backers hope will encourage wider use and give legitimacy to cryptocurrency.

* At 7:21 a.m. ET, bitcoin futures were quoted at $17,800 on the Chicago-based CBOE Global Markets exchange, up 12.3 percent from its Sunday opening price, while bitcoin itself hovered at $16,459.

* Shares of Cboe Global Markets rose 3.7 percent.

* U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, buoyed by a solid payrolls report for November that locked in expectations for an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve this week.

* The report showed the economy added 228,000 jobs in November but average hourly earnings failed to meet expectations.

* The third rate hike in 2017 is near certain, with traders betting a 90 percent chance in its favor, according to CME Group's Fedwatch tool.

* But, a sluggish growth in wages in latest U.S. jobs report could raise doubts about the central bank's plan to raise interest rates thrice in 2018.

* The Labor Department is slated to release a report at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) on job openings and labor turnover for October.

* Bluebird Bio shares rose 11.13 percent after its experimental gene-modifying immunotherapy drug co-developed with Celgene received positive responses in early stage study. Celgene's shares were up 2.6 percent.

Futures snapshot at 6:52 a.m. EDT:

* Dow e-minis were up 46 points, or 0.19 percent, with 7,997 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.08 percent, with 154,048 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.11 percent, on volume of 11,062 contracts. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)