US STOCKS-Wall St surges on Greek deal hopes, oil lift
* Staples, Office Depot in advanced merger talks - WSJ
* Stratsys drops after cutting outlook
* Indexes up: Dow 1.04 pct, S&P 0.89 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct (Updates to market open, adds quote)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks jumped at the open on Tuesday, with the benchmark S&P 500 index poised to continue a rally fueled by hopes of a deal on Greek debt and by firmer oil prices.
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.
Adding support was a further gain in oil prices, with U.S. crude up 2 percent to $50.56 and Brent up 2.1 percent to $55.89. The advance came after BP said it would cut capital expenditure, raising expectations a supply glut will be eased. Shares of offshore contract driller Transocean gained 8.5 percent to $18.75.
"The market is beginning to see signs of some stability coming into oil and the Greek situation seems to be tilting towards the side of what the market is looking for, which is a retreat from its call for a debt writedown," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"So the market is latching on to a better Greek situation." Continuación...