US STOCKS-Futures climb on hopes for Greek debt deal

martes 3 de febrero de 2015 08:41 GYT

* Staples, Office Depot in advanced merger talks - WSJ

* Aetna posts Q4 results, raises 2015 outlook

* Futures up: Dow 46 pts, S&P 6.25 pts, Nasdaq 9.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures climbed on Tuesday, with the benchmark S&P 500 index set to continue a rally fueled by hopes of a deal on Greek debt.

* Stocks rallied late in the prior session on signs Greece was softening its approach to debt negotiations. A source told Reuters that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, in London to reassure private investors he was not seeking a showdown with Brussels over a new debt agreement, said the new left-wing government would spare privately held bonds from losses.

* The S&P 500 is still down more than 3 percent from its Dec. 29 record high amid lackluster corporate earnings and data showing the U.S. economy growing at a slower pace than investors anticipated. January's 3.1 percent decline was the worst monthly performance for the index in a year.

* According to Thomson Reuters data through Monday morning, of 226 companies in the S&P 500 that have posted earnings, 73 percent have topped expectations. The expected growth rate for the quarter sits at 5.4 percent, down from 11.2 percent expected on Oct. 1.

* Aetna, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, reported fourth-quarter earnings that matched Wall Street expectations and raised its 2015 forecast for operating earnings.   Continuación...