Stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Thursday after Greek leaders clinched a long-stalled deal on reforms and data indicated the U.S. labor market continued to improve.
Futures reversed losses and turned positive after sources said leaders from major Greek parties had agreed on reforms and austerity measures needed in exchange for a new bailout package to avoid a chaotic default.
Also bolstering the tone was a report showing jobless claims fell last report, underscoring a firming in the labor market, following a better-than-expected payrolls report last week.
But gains sparked by the news from Greece were somewhat muted as stocks have been decoupling from events in Europe this year, leaving the possibility for investors to book some profits as the S&P 500 has risen more then 7 percent year to date.
There is definitely a whiff of sell the news in the air, just given the claims number and the Greek deal. We've climbed this wall of worry and the first reaction for people is to hit the sell button, said Michael Marrale, managing director and head of sales trading at RBC Capital Markets in New York.
It's tough to find any real reasons to sell here that haven't been fully flushed out in the marketplace outside of the move we've made.
S&P 500 futures added 0.7 point 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 28 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 3.25 points.
European shares extended gains on the news, with the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares up 0.6 percent.
The European Central Bank held its main interest rate at 1.0 percent on Thursday. Markets were watching to see whether the bank is ready to help Greece avoid a messy default.
The Bank of England voted to inject another 50 billion pounds into the financial system as part of its efforts to shore up a fragile recovery.
Wholesale inventories for December from the Commerce Department at 10 a.m. EST.
Cisco Systems Inc
Other companies expected to post results Thursday include Expedia Inc
Through Wednesday morning, of the 315 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date, 61.0 percent have been above analyst expectations, tracking below the pace of recent quarters.
(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)