Jan. 19, 2012 at 7:47 AM ET
Stocks appeared to be headed for a higher opening Thursday after Bank of America posted a fourth-quarter profit that reversed a loss in the same period a year earlier. Investors were awaiting data on jobless claims, housing and consumer prices.
Bank of America Corp reported a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a year-earlier loss, boosted by one-time items and lower expenses for bad loans.
Morgan Stanley lost money in the fourth quarter due to a big charge related to a legal settlement, and said revenue declined across all of its trading, banking and brokerage operations.
Financial shares have rallied since the start of the year. The S&P financial index is up more than 7 percent for 2012, helping to push the benchmark S&P 500 index up 4 percent.
In a sign that investor nervousness over the euro zone's debt crisis was easing, Spain and France both drew strong demand at government debt auctions.
Investors hope the next batch of U.S. data will confirm previous reports showing the economy is improving. Coming at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December and initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan 14.
Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.1 percent rise in CPI, compared with no change in November. Jobless claims were expected to show 385,000 new filings versus 399,000 in the prior week.
Talks between Greece and its creditors were proceeding, sources said, but much more progress was needed before a deal was reached on a bond swap.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.5 points and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 40 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 6.5 points.
Eastman Kodak Co filed for bankruptcy protection and said it obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup.
European shares were higher, trading just below a 5-1/2-month high, as investors awaited the outcome of the Greek talks.
Asian shares rose to a two-month high on hopes that the International Monetary Fund would boost its resources to help tackle the euro zone debt crisis.
Reuters contributed to this report.