Stock Futures Rise, Point To Higher Opening

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Stock futures rose Friday as concerns about Greece’s ongoing debt problems eased.

Mixed reports on durable goods orders and earnings were tempering gains.

European markets rallied after Greek officials said they are tapping a rescue package from the 15 other countries that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund. The debt-burdened country will have access to about $53.37 billion.

The move gives Greece better interest rates on its debt than it would be able to get from private investors.

U.S. stocks had suffered Thursday morning before recovering later as concerns about Greece’s debt problem resurfaced after a report showed the country’s deficit last year was larger than first thought. Greece’s debt crisis has spooked investors who worry that other European nations will also struggle with repaying debt, which would stunt a global economic recovery.

The Greek debt problem has been one of the few issues that have made investors pause in recent months as stocks continue a consistent climb higher. The Dow Jones industrial average is on pace for its eighth straight weekly gain. It rose 9 points Thursday.

Investors looking to focus on the domestic economy got a mixed report on durable goods orders. New orders for big-ticket manufactured goods dropped 1.3 per cent in March because of a steep plunge in commercial aircraft orders. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast a 0.3 per cent jump.

However, orders did jump at their fastest rate since 2007 excluding the volatile transportation sector, indicating the manufacturing sector is still improving. New orders for goods that are expected to last at least three years rose 2.8 per cent last month. Economists were expecting growth of 0.7 per

cent.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 7, or 0.1 per cent, to 11,075. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures rose 2.80, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,204.50, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 7.75, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,044.00.

Shares of two Dow components were dragging down that index.

Microsoft Corp.’s 35 per

cent jump in earnings wasn’t enough for investors, who sent its shares lower in pre-opening trading. Investors were looking for bigger growth in corporate spending after other technology companies showed a big rebound in that area.

Insurer Travelers Cos.’s first-quarter profit missed expectations because of severe winter storms and the earthquake in Chile.

Travelers fell $1.30, or 2.4 per cent, to $52.49 in pre-opening trading. Microsoft fell 54 cents to $30.85.

Investors are also awaiting a report on new home sales that comes a day after the National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose more than expected in March. Thursday’s report helped buoy homebuilder stocks Thursday.

The Commerce Department’s report on new home sales Friday is also expected to show an increase in March after hitting a record-low a month earlier. The report is expected to show sales rose 7.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

The report is due out at 10 a.m. EDT.

Bond prices dipped. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.82 per cent from 3.78 per cent late Thursday.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies. It fell slightly against the euro, which got a boost from the Greece bailout efforts. Earlier in the day, the dollar hit its highest level against the euro in a year.

Gold and oil fell.

Overseas, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.8 per cent, Germany’s DAX index gained 1.43 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.6 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.3 per cent