US STOCKS-Futures up on Greece aid, huge airline merger

* EU, IMF offer $146.5 billion bailout package to Greece

* UAL to acquire Continental, form world’s largest airline

* Futures up; S&P 4.9 pts, Dow 33 pts, Nasdaq 10.25 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Adds byline, quote)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 3 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures rose
on Monday as investors welcomed details of a fiscal aid package
for Greece and focused on a merger that would create the
world’s largest airline.

European countries agreed to a 110 billion-euro ($146.5
billion) aid package for debt-laden Greece, the biggest ever
financial bailout of a country.

The lack of specifics on the deal weighed on U.S. markets
in recent weeks, and the agreement offered relief to investors.
But European stocks fell on concerns that the package may face
political obstacles and on doubts that Greece can implement the
tough austerity measures it has promised in exchange.
[ID:nSGE64208W] [ID:nLDE6420OJ]

UAL Corp (UAUA.O: ), parent of United Airlines, said it will
buy Continental Airlines Inc (CAL.N: ) for $3.2 billion in stock,
a deal that would form the world’s largest airline. For
details, see [ID:nN02143069]

“The Greece package is providing a relief to the market,
although the relief may be temporary. We are starting off today
with an early bounce from an oversold situation on Friday,”
said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners
in New York.

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) were up 4.9 points and 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 (DJc1: ) rose 33
points, while Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) were up 10.25 points.

Warren Buffett on Sunday intensified his feisty defense of
a controversial mortgage transaction marketed by Goldman Sachs
Group Inc (GS.N: ), saying the investment bank’s behavior does
not warrant public fury. Buffett also said he is seeing signs
of improvement in the economy, especially in manufacturing,
though he said it will take another year for a sustainable
housing recovery to take hold. [ID:nN02162966]

Goldman Sachs shares rose 1.8 percent in premarket trade to

Due at 8:30 a.m. [1230 GMT] Monday are March figures for
personal spending and income, and at 10 a.m. [1400 GMT], March
construction spending data and ISM manufacturing data for

The median Reuters forecast of 32 economists for the ISM’s
manufacturing index is 60.0, up from 59.6 in March.
Construction spending is forecast to have fallen 0.3 percent
month over month in March, according to a Reuters poll.

The market will also keep a close eye on car sales for
April. Ford Motor Co (F.N: ) rose 1.9 percent to $13.27 in
premarket trade ahead of its April sales report expected to
show a double-digit increase over the same period a year ago.

Energy shares will be in the spotlight again as the huge
oil slick caused by an underwater leak continued to creep
toward the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday. The Obama administration
pressed energy giant BP Plc (BP.L: ) to stem the oil gushing from
its ruptured offshore well. [ID:nN03142622]. U.S.-traded shares
of BP (BP.N: ) fell about 2.8 percent in premarket trade to

China on Sunday raised the proportion of deposits that
lenders must keep in reserve at the central bank, another step
in the country’s campaign to remove excess cash in the economy.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) tumbled on Friday to close out the worst week
since January as news of a criminal probe into Goldman Sachs
unnerved investors already anxious about the prospects for
heavy regulation from Washington. But the three major U.S.
stock indexes have racked up gains for the last three months.


(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Futures up on Greece aid, huge airline merger