Wall Street was poised for a higher open on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy appeared to have enough momentum to avoid a double-dip recession.
Bernanke, in comments at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, also said European leaders were committed to ensuring the survival of the euro and had enough money to meet obligations of heavily indebted member nations.
Markets remain nervous. So far today, Mr. Bernanke's comments have just sort of stopped us, said Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago. He stabilized the markets, if you will, for the time being.
S&P 500 futures rose 5 points and were slightly 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 gained 45 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 9.25 points.
The euro, used by investors in recent weeks as a barometer for euro-zone stability, edged up 0.2 percent, providing additional support to equities after Bernanke's comments.
In a bid to boost confidence in the markets, finance ministers from the debt-stricken euro zone have agreed on a Special Purpose Vehicle to raise up to 440 billion euros ($525.4 billion) to lend to nations that run into Greek-style payments problems.
The increased volatility on Wall Street in recent weeks has made investors more sensitive, backing away at the first hint of selling pressure.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc added 0.7 percent to $139.70 in premarket trading after it was subpoenaed by the commission probing the financial crisis. Goldman flooded the panel with 2.5 billion pages of records, raising the ire of the commission's vice chairman.
Separately, Goldman lowered its view on the deepwater drilling sector to neutral from attractive on expectations the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling would be extended and bring pressure on day rates and delayed pricing power.
U.S.-listed shares of Transocean Ltd slipped 1.3 percent to $48.53 premarket, while Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc shed 2.8 percent to $57.56.
McDonald's Corp advanced 0.8 percent to $67.25 after the fast-food chain reported a stronger-than-expected rise in worldwide same-store sales in May.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)