US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open on Greece, consumer data

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

* U.S. consumer spending increases for sixth straight month

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

* Futures up; S&P 5.1 pts, Dow 33 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates with personal income data)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Wall Street was set for a
higher open on Monday as details of a financial rescue package
for Greece provided relief and data showed a steady rise in
consumer spending.

U.S. consumer spending increased as expected in March for a
sixth straight month as consumers dipped into their savings, a
government report showed, confirming robust spending growth in
the first quarter. For details, see [ID:nN30104557] Table:

A mega merger of two airlines also boosted investor
sentiment. 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]

“They’re further pieces of good news after recent consumer
spending data,” said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at
John Thomas Financial in New York.

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) were up 5.1 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 9 points.

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 some investors.

Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak in New
York, said the agreement is a “short term relief for Greece but
at a larger cost.”

European stocks fell on doubts that Greece can implement
the tough austerity measures it has promised in exchange.
[ID:nSGE64208W] [ID:nLDE6420OJ]

Data in focus are March construction spending data and ISM
manufacturing data for April due at 10 a.m. [1400 GMT]. 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.

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. [ID:nN02162966] Goldman Sachs shares
rose 1.6 percent in premarket trade to $147.50.

The market will also keep a close eye on car sales for
April. Ford Motor Co (F.N: ) rose 1.4 percent to $13.20 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 3.3 percent in premarket trade to $50.46.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) tumbled on Friday to close out the worst week
since January. But the three major U.S. stock indexes have
racked up gains for the last three months.

Stock Analysis

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open on Greece, consumer data