5 Things You Need to Know Before the Stock Market Opens

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures suggested Wall Street would open higher Thursday ahead of a deadline on Greece's debt swap and U.S. jobless claims.

Investors with about 60% of the Greek bonds eligible for the nation's debt swap have so far indicated they'll participate, according to Bloomberg.

European shares were rising Thursday and Asian stocks finished with strong gains.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are holding meetings Thursday, but the central banks aren't expected to make changes to interest rates.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly jobless claims. The consensus view for initial claims is 355,000, up slightly from 351,000 in the prior week.

The U.S. Treasury is selling $6 billion worth of its bailout-related holdings in insurance giant American International Group ( AIG).

AIG is expected to purchase up to $3 billion worth of the stock being sold by the Treasury, which will still hold nearly $42 billion sunk into the company following its 2008 bailout.

The Treasury Department still owns 77% of AIG's common shares.

McDonald's ( MCD) is expected Thursday to report February sales.

Lynne Collier, Sterne Agee analyst, expects the fast-food giant to post a February same-store sales increase of 8.7%.

Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors ( GM), said it may be two years before its European division is back in the black.

GM has lost money in Europe for the last 12 years, according to Reuters.

"I think it'll be a good year or two before we can achieve profitability in Europe again," Akerson said.

Apple ( AAPL) and five of the biggest U.S. publishers have been warned by the Justice Department it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a court battle, the people told the newspaper. A successful settlement could potentially lead to cheaper e-books for consumers.

The five publishers facing a potential suit are CBS' ( CBS) Simon & Schuster; Lagardere's Hachette Book Group; Pearson's ( PSO) Penguin Group (USA); Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers, a unit of News Corp. ( NWSA).

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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