U.S. Stock Futures Rally as Greek Debt Plan, China Data Give Lift

Date : 12/03/2012 @ 8:47AM
Source : Dow Jones News

U.S. Stock Futures Rally as Greek Debt Plan, China Data Give Lift

--Stock futures rise ahead of PMI data on back of Greece's debt buyback plan, China data

--Europe markets rallied after Greece said it plans to buy back 10 billion euros of debt

--Chinese purchasing managers index indicates manufacturing expanded in November

--Data on U.S. manufacturing activity and construction spending on tap

   By Tomi Kilgore 

NEW YORK--U.S. stock futures rallied to start the final month of the year, with Greece's debt buyback plan and encouraging data out of China helping put investors in a buoyant mood ahead of data on manufacturing activity.

About 90 minutes ahead of the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 55 points, or 0.4%, to 13063.

Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures gained six points, or 0.4%, to 1421 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 17 points, or 0.6%, to 2693. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.

The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers index for November is due out at 10 a.m. EST. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires is for a slight decline to 51.0 from 51.7 in October. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Also at 10 a.m. EST, construction spending for October is seen increasing 0.5% on the month.

European markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.6% at a 1 1/2-year high, as Greece's plan to reduce its debt burden helped bolster investor confidence.

Greece's debt agency announced plans to repurchase up to 10 billion euros ($12.99 billion) worth of its outstanding debt, sending the country's bonds and stock market surging. Greece's ASE Composite ran up 1.7%.

Asian markets were mostly higher after encouraging data on China's manufacturing sector. The Chinese government's official purchasing managers' index for November rose to a seven-month high of 50.6, up from 50.2 in October. And HSBC's PMI for November rose to 50.5 from October's 49.5. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average edged up 0.1% to a seven-month high and Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.6% to a six-week high, while China's Shanghai Composite bucked the trend by shedding 1% to a near four-year low.

Front month crude oil futures tacked on 0.1% to $89.01 a barrel, while December gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,730.80 an ounce. The dollar lost ground against both the euro and the yen.

In corporate news, shares of Yahoo lost 1.3% after a Mexican court ordered the Internet media company to pay $2.7 billion to Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas, which accused Yahoo and its subsidiary Yahoo de Mexico SA of breach of contract related to a yellow-pages listings service.

Conn's climbed 7.5% after the home appliance and furniture retailer reported better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings, lifted its full-year outlook and provided an outlook for next year that was above current analyst projections.

Dell rallied 5.3% after analysts at Goldman Sachs raised its investment rating on the personal computer maker to buy from hold and raised its 12-month price target to $13 from $9.

Meanwhile, Research in Motion slumped 2.8% after Canaccord Genuity analysts downgraded the Blackberry maker to sell from hold, citing concerns about the new Blackberry 10 launch.

HCA Holdings announced plans to pay a special cash dividend of $2 a share on or before Dec. 31. The hospital operator said the dividend will be funded through the proceeds from a $1 billion debt offering. The stock was still inactive ahead of the opening.

Write to Tomi Kilgore at tomi.kilgore@dowjones.com

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