Stock index futures turned higher Thursday following a report that Greek politicians reached a long-awaited austerity deal and after a better-than-expected jobless claims news.
The euro rose to hit a two-month highagainst the dollar and European stocks climbedfollowing reports that Greece had agreed on a bailout deal. A statement on the deal is expected shortly.
"A few minutes ago I got a call from the Prime Minister of Greece saying that an agreement has been reached and has been endorsed by the major parties," said ECB President Mario Draghi in a news conference. "This afternoon we will be having a euro group meeting with the ministers, and we will be having a full report of this, the agreement, and also a discussion of the further steps."
Meanwhile, the ECB kept interest rates on hold at 1 percent, as expected. However, Draghi hinted at relaxed rules for banks taking part in a long-term refinancing operation at the end of the month, boosting hopes that additional liquidity will be injected in the system.
"It is essential for monetary policy to maintain price stability for the euro area as a whole," commented Draghi. "This ensures a firm anchoring on inflation expectations in line with our aim of maintaining inflation rates below but close to 2 percent over the medium term. Such anchoring is a prerequisite for monetary policy to make its contribution to supporting economic growth and job creation in the euro area."
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims declined 15,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 358,000, according to the Labor Department, hitting the second-lowest level in almost four years. Economists had expected claims to gain 3,000.