US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of Fed minutes; M&A eyed

* Fed minutes due at 1800 GMT

* Dow, S&P, Nasdaq e-minis up less than 0.1 pct each

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) – S&P Futures were little changed on Wednesday, with traders eyeing a $ 70 billion mega-deal in the energy space and ahead of minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee.

* Royal Dutch Shell said it would buy rival BG Group for $ 70 billion, closing the gap on market leader U.S. Exxon Mobil. U.S.-traded Shell shares fell 1.2 percent in the premarket after the announcement of the first major oil industry merger in more than a decade.

* Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s March policy meeting, in which the Fed downgraded its economic growth and inflation projections while leaving the door open to kick-start its tightening path, are expected at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). Traders will search for clues on the central bank’s next move.

* Private equity firms Blackstone Group and Corsair Capital are in talks to acquire a major stake in First Eagle Investment Management, valuing the company at around $ 4 billion, including debt.

* Lions Gate shares fell 3.7 percent after the company announced a secondary offering of about 10 million shares by funds affiliated with MHR fund management, its largest shareholder.

* As the reporting season starts to gain momentum, first-quarter S&P 500 earnings are projected to show a decline of 2.8 percent from a year earlier, which would be the worst results since the third quarter of 2009.

Futures snapshot at 7:29 a.m. EDT (1129 GMT):

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.07 percent, with 91,871 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.07 percent, in volume of 14,119 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.06 percent, with 17,646 contracts changing hands.

(Aditional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

S&P Futures

spfutures.org@imediaone.com

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