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Stock futures rise following gains overseas

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[March 02, 2010]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures rose Tuesday following gains globally overnight.

HardwareOverseas markets rallied on upbeat economic reports in Asia and growing hopes European leaders will complete a bailout for debt-burdened Greece.

Japan's unemployment rate dropped for the second straight month in January and household spending grew -- hopeful signs for recovery in the world's second-largest economy. Australia's central bank continues to reduce stimulus measures as the nation's economy rebounds. It increased a key interest rate to 4 percent.


Greece's debt problems have added volatility to markets around the world for more than a month. Investors are worried that the country's mounting debt problems will spread throughout Europe and upend a global recovery. Traders have welcomed any signs of a resolution by bidding shares higher, though nothing official has been hammered out between Greece's government and other European leaders.

In the U.S., investors could get details on potential new banking regulations. Senate negotiators are closing in on a deal that would create a new consumer protection agency within the Federal Reserve. The House has passed a bill that would create a separate entity to regulate everything from credit cards to mortgages.

Uncertainty surrounding potential changes to bank regulations have dogged the market in recent months.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 46, or 0.4 percent, to 10,431. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 5.90, or 0.5 percent, to 1,120.50, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 8.75, or 0.5 percent, to 1,851.50.

There is little in the way of economic reports due out Tuesday. Automakers will report monthly sales throughout the day.

One of the biggest reports of the month, the Labor Department's employment report, is scheduled for release Friday. It is expected to show the unemployment rate inched higher to 9.8 percent last month from 9.7 percent in January.

High unemployment remains a major obstacle for sustained growth.

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Stocks are looking to build on Monday's gains. Major indexes rose to their highest levels in more than a month after corporate dealmaking raised hopes for a global economic recovery.

American International Group's sale of its Asian life insurance business for $35.5 billion was the biggest deal on a busy day. The bailed-out insurer is selling off divisions to help repay government loans.

Corporate takeovers are considered a positive sign for the economy because they typically only happen when companies are confident of future growth.

The Dow rose 0.8 percent to its highest level Jan. 20. The S&P 500 rose 1 percent and is now positive for the year.

Meanwhile, bond prices dipped Tuesday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.63 percent from 3.61 percent late Monday.

The dollar mostly rose against other major currencies. Gold prices were little changed.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.3 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell less than 0.1 percent.

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN BERNARD]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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