Wall Street eyed a higher open on Tuesday as speculation that debt-burdened Greece would get help from the European Union bolstered sentiment, and positive broker comments looked set to boost industrial companies.
Dow components Coca-Cola Co
Coke's shares gained 1.8 percent to $53.60 before the opening bell and McDonald's added 0.7 percent to $63.39.
Talk of a rescue for Greece was spurred by news that European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was leaving a meeting of central bankers in Sydney early to attend a European Union leaders' summit.
EU officials later clarified that Trichet's early return to Europe had long been planned.
Worries that rising debt in Greece, Portugal and other euro zone states could undermine a global recovery has sapped confidence from equity markets in recent weeks.
The biggest overhang has really been the sovereign debt issue that's been plaguing markets for the better part of two weeks, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston.
I think the biggest driver in this market is the hope we get some sort of resolution in Greece.
The rescue talk and a weaker U.S. dollar also lifted commodity prices, which could lend support to materials shares. The price of oil recovered early losses to rise to near $73 a barrel, and the dollar was off broadly by 0.4 percent <.DXY>.
Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the industrial sector to attractive from in-line, saying the companies' share prices should catch up to an improving business environment. Among the companies it upgraded, shares of Caterpillar Inc
S&P 500 futures rose 11 points 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 were up 79 points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 15.50 points.
On the economic front, investors will watch December wholesale trade data due at 10:00 a.m. Inventories are expected to have increased half a percentage point, after jumping 1.5 percent in November, the fastest rate in over five years. Rising inventories suggest businesses are preparing for a healthier economy.
On the downside, shares of Electronic Arts Inc
On Monday the Dow closed below 10,000 for the first time since November, as investors sold bank shares on concerns over the euro zone debt troubles.
The benchmark S&P 500 is off 8.1 percent from its 15-month closing peak of January 19, but still up 56.2 percent from its March 2009 bottom.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)