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Stock Futures Rise on Greek Austerity Vote


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures advanced Monday after Greek lawmakers passed a package of austerity measures to satisfy the terms for a bailout from the country's international creditors.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 83 points, or 89 points above fair value, at 12,850. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 9.3 points, or 10.4 points above fair value, at 1350. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 16.7 points, or 20.4 points above fair value, at 2565.

The market welcome Greece's drastic plans to cut spending and wages, even as economists said that these same measures may be detrimental to the country's long-term growth. Riots spread across Athens overnight, with thousands of people protesting the latest round of stringent demands from Greece's creditors.

While several of the country's leaders have defected in recent days, roughly two-thirds of the Greek parliament voted to pass the new austerity measures. The agreement also outlines a bond-swap plan between the government and private lenders that will reduce the country's debt by €100 billion.

The austerity legislation should now clear the way for eurozone finance ministers to give Greece its second bailout of at least €130 billion, or $171.5 billion. Officials are expected to meet in Brussels on Wednesday to determine whether Greece will get its next round of bailout aid.

Borrowing costs fell at an Italian debt auction Monday, suggesting that investors' faith in the country to repay its debts had increased. The country was able to sell more than €12 billion of bills at rates lower than those in the previous sales.

Germany's DAX was up 0.78% while London's FTSE was up 0.99%. Japan's Nikkei Average settled up 0.58% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.5%.

Despite apparent exuberance in the market, investors are wary of an imminent pullback. "Not everyone can enjoy a meal without putting the fork down every now and again. And the same goes for equity price advances," writes Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist with S&P Capital IQ. Stovall's team recently downgraded information technology, one of the "higher-flying" sectors.

"We believe it is more susceptible than most to a sharp, short-term decline in price. However, that doesn't mean our year-end target of 1400 for the S&P 500 is in jeopardy," he adds.

Last week, U.S. stocks saw the worst slide yet in 2012. The Dow slipped 61 points as investors feared that Greece was headed for a default and as technical analysis suggested that a market top had arrived.

In corporate news, Apple (AAPL) recently escalated its legal battle against Samsung by asking a California court to block sales of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. In the suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Apple accuses Samsung of violating four Apple patents with its new phone, according to a Dow Jones . Apple argues that the new Samsung phone is the strongest competitor yet to its iPhone and poses a robust threat to its market share, Dow Jones said.

U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE) said it will hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and invest $580 million into growing its U.S. aviation operations in 2012. The announcement comes ahead of a four-day meeting in Washington beginning Monday to discuss ways to jump-start the U.S. economy. GE shares were up 0.9% to $19.05.

Vodafone (VOD), the world's largest mobile phone company, confirmed Monday it is considering making an offer for Britain's Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Vodafone said Monday it was "in the very early stages of evaluating the merits of a potential offer for CWW." If an offer were made, Vodafone said it likely would be in cash. Reports suggest Cable & Wireless might be sold for 700 million pounds or $1.1 billion to 900 million pounds.

Diebold (DBD) is expected by analysts to post fourth-quarter earnings of 84 cents a share. Diebold, the maker of ATMS and bank vaults, will issue results before the markets open Monday.

Health Management Associates (HMA) is expected to earn 20 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $1.58 billion.

Drug development company Charles River (CRL) is expected on Monday to post earnings of 55 cents a share in the fourth quarter, according to analysts.

March oil futures were up 86 cents to $99.53 a barrel. In other commodities, April gold futures were up $5.50 to $1730.80 an ounce.

The dollar index was down 0.34%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 11/32, pushing the yield to 2.021%.

-- Written by Chao Deng in New York.

Stock quotes in this article: ^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC 

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