NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were soaring, pointing to a steeply higher open Thursday after European leaders agreed on key details of a plan to stem the eurozone debt crisis, including an expansion of the emergency rescue fund and writedowns on Greek debt.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 242 points, or 232 points above fair value, at 12,044. Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 32 points, or 32 points above fair value, at 1269 and Nasdaq futures ahead by 53 points, or 49 points above fair value, at 2380.
Negotiations from Wednesday's summit of European leaders in Brussels dragged overnight, but news of a strategy agreement had global markets heaving a huge sigh of relief on Thursday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the European Financial Stability Facility will be leveraged by four to five times to provide guarantees on bonds of struggling eurozone member countries. Additionally, private banks agreed to take a 50% reduction on Greek debt held by private investors.
In Europe, London's FTSE was rising 2.4%, and Germany's DAX was soaring 4.3%. Overnight, Asian markets surged on the news. Japan's Nikkei Average gained 2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 3.3%.The dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, was declining 0.82%, and the euro was rising 0.91% against the greenback. On the economic front, the economy grew 2.5%, as expected, in the third quarter, according to an initial reading on gross domestic product. That compares with growth of 1.3% in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the latest labor data showed the unemployment picture was little changed with initial jobless claims falling by 2,000 to 402,000 in the week ended Oct. 22. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 17/32, lifting the yield to 2.270%. In Thursday's earnings news, Dow component Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) topped Wall Street's profit expectations by a penny with third-quarter earnings of $2.13 a share. Shares were advancing 1.3% to $82.16 in early trading. Fellow Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG) met analysts' estimates with first-quarter earnings of $1.03 a share and said sales rose 9% to $21.92 billion, topping expectations for revenue of $21.53 billion. The stock was gaining 0.9% to $65.50 ahead of Thursday's opening bell. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) were rising 1.1% to $73.19 during premarket trading after the oil company said third-quarter profit doubled on higher oil prices. Aetna (AET) saw its stock jump 1.5% to $39.50 during the premarket session after the health insurer surpassed analyst estimates with third-quarter operating earnings of $1.140 a share on lower-than-expected utilization and disciplined pricing. Wall Street had projected a profit of $1.15 a share. In other news, Sony (SNE) will acquire Ericsson's (ERIC) 50% stake in the companies' Sony Ericsson mobile phone venture, making the mobile handset business a subsidiary of Sony. Sony acquired the stake for €1.05 billion ($1.47 billion) in cash. At 10 a.m., the National Association of Realtors will release its pending home sales index for September. Economists are projecting a flat reading after sales dropped by 1.2% in August. In commodity markets, gold for December delivery was shedding $6.40 to trade at $1,717.10 an ounce, while the December crude oil contract was trading $2.18 higher at $92.38 a barrel. -- Written by Melinda Peer in New York.