Stock index futures were flat on Thursday as investors awaited details on a second rescue package for Greece, though weakness in technology shares kept Nasdaq futures slightly negative.
Tech stocks will be in focus a day after Intel Corp
In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy reached a common position on a second rescue package for Greece after hours of talks. Details were not revealed, but will be presented at a euro-zone summit in Brussels on Thursday.
Euro-zone debt problems has been a drag on U.S. equities in recent weeks as investors worried it would spread to countries where domestic banks have greater exposure.
Investors are waiting to see what the full details of the plan are before jumping in, though it will probably be seen as a positive in the end since it seems to have some acceptance of the reality of the situation, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
Morgan Stanley shares gained 6.5 percent to $23.14 in premarket trading after its second-quarter loss came in narrower than expected.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.6 point and were 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 lost 4 points and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 5.5 points.
In earnings news, both American Express Co
U.S.-listed shares of Nokia rose 3.3 percent to $5.98 premarket.
Chinese manufacturing contracted for the first time in a year in July, data showed Thursday, as the government's monetary tightening policy and sluggish global demand weighed on the economy.
To the extent that China slows, there's going to have to be a picking up of slack by the rest of the world, and that's what investors are looking at. Will we emerge from our slow growth to pick up the slack? Meckler said.
On the economic front, jobless claims were due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and are seen rising by 5,000 to 410,000 in the latest week.
Debt issues remained in focus in the United States, with the White House and Congress continuing to negotiate a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling before a looming default on August 2.
U.S. stocks closed near unchanged on Wednesday, a day after Wall Street's best rally since March, as the debt ceiling deadline overshadowed strong earnings from Apple Inc
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)