US STOCKS-Futures up on Greece optimism, ahead of Caterpillar

* Greek minister: Aid will come in time to avoid default

* Hertz to buy Dollar Thrifty; Charles River to buy WuXi

* Caterpillar, Texas Instruments results on tap

* futures up: Dow 21 pts, S&P 2.5 pts, Nasdaq 1.75 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 26 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures
were modestly higher on Monday, the first session after hitting
a 19-month high, as investors awaited key earnings reports and
a Greek official said an aid package would help avert a
sovereign debt default.

* Still, some uncertainty over the aid package pushed up
the nation’s borrowing costs to a 12-year high one day after
Greece’s finance minister said the assistance would avert a
default. The situation in Greece has weighed on equities in
recent weeks. For details, see [ID:nTOPNOW2]

* Earnings season continues in full swing, with Caterpillar
Inc (CAT.N: ) set to report. The Dow component’s results could
provide insight into how the manufacturing sector is faring in
the recovery. Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.N: ), BlackRock Inc
(BLK.N: ) and Boston Scientific Corp (BSX.N: ) are also due.

* Both Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N: ) and Humana Inc (HUM.N: )
posted adjusted earnings that beat expectations, and Whirlpool
also raised its full-year profit view. [ID:nN26177645] and

* S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) rose 2.5 points 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 (DJc1: )
gained 21 points while Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) added 1.75

* UAL Corp’s (UAUA.O: ) United Airlines and Continental
Airlines Inc (CAL.N: ) disagree over the price of a potential
stock-for-stock merger, according to sources. [ID:nN25188092]

* Also on the merger front, Hertz Global Holdings Inc
(HTZ.N: ) agreed to buy rival car rental company Dollar Thrifty
Automotive Group Inc (DTG.N: ) for about $1.2 billion, while
Charles River Laboratories International (CRL.N: ), the U.S.
clinical research company, plans to acquire WuXi PharmaTech
Cayman Inc (WX.N: ) for $1.6 billion. [ID:nSGE63P03V] and

* The two Democratic Senators trying to come up with a bill
regulating the $450 trillion private swaps market are near a
deal, and will include a provision to require banks to spin off
swaps desks, sources said Sunday. [ID:nN25166598]

* European stocks were up 1 percent Monday morning, led by
banking shares, as worries eased over Greece’s woes [.EU].
while Japan’s Nikkei average (.N225: ) jumped 2.3 percent.

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) hit a 19-month high Friday as Merck rose
after it said costs from healthcare reform will be lower than
its rivals.

Investment Analysis

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Futures up on Greece optimism, ahead of Caterpillar