Equity markets could open higher this morning as media outlets report that the European Union have agreed to design a financial rescue plan for Greece.

“The plan will require a cast-iron commitment from the Greek government to put its public finances in order and will draw on the technical expertise of the International Monetary Fund without tapping IMF funds,” wrote the Financial Times, citing unnamed EU officials and diplomats.

The FT said the rescue operation is being led by Germany and France and “represents a potential landmark in European integration as it implies a commitment on the part of stronger countries to guarantee the financial stability of weaker and more fiscally indisciplined partners.”

The New York Times, however, cast a less inspiring tone:

“Reluctant German leaders now find themselves forced to help Greece remain solvent, or risk watching markets attack one weak member after the next, from Portugal to Spain to Italy, threatening the stability of the euro, the European currency Germany fought so hard to create.”

One thing is for certain: investors have become much more optimistic as progress for the operation has been underway. European markets are trading higher for the fourth consecutive day.

Meanwhile, Chinese consumer prices rose less than anticipated, easing tightening concerns and emboldening investors.

With about 60 minutes before the opening bell, Dow futures are up 24 points to 10,009 and futures on the S&P 500 are up 2.00 points to 1,065.

Risk can also be seen coming back as Crude oil is trading 48 cents higher to $75.00 and Gold trades up $2.60 to $1,078.

Note: Retail Sales will not be published today due to the snow storm. The US Census Bureau wrote: Due to inclement weather, the Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services report for January, originally scheduled to be released February 11, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. EST, has been rescheduled to be released February 12, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. EST.

More information is available here: http://www.census.gov/retail/

Key Events Today:

8:30 ― The four-week moving average for Initial Jobless Claims ticked up for the third consecutive week, rising to 468K from 457K last Thursday when the prior week’s claims number unexpectedly shot up to 480k. A decline to 467k is expected in the week ending February 6, but that’s unlikely to garner much praise as any figure above the 400k mark is indicative of overall job losses in the economy.

“While we are not overly convinced job destruction is beginning to pick back up, the current level of claims is consistent with sluggish job destruction, suggesting that if job gains do come, they will be limited,” said analysts from TD Securities. “Additionally, the recent upward momentum in the four-week moving average does deflate the optimistic bubble somewhat, though we do believe the worst of job destruction is firmly behind us.”

Treasury Auctions:


  • 1:00 ― 30-Year Bonds