Stock futures rise on earnings reports

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stock futures rose Thursday as Morgan Stanley and other companies report quarterly earnings and a deal was announced between two big pharmaceutical benefits managers.

Investors have no shortage of events to watch. European leaders are ready to sign off on a second aid package for Greece Thursday at an emergency summit meeting in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European officials want to “address the problems really at the root” by easing Greece’s debt burden.

Express Scripts said it would buy Medco Health Solutions for $29.1 billion. The deal would combine the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits management companies.

The government said Thursday morning that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits rose last week to 418,000. Economists had forecast the figure would drop to 400,000. Investors watch claims for signs of the economy’s strength. New applications for unemployment benefits have topped 400,000 for 15 straight weeks

Morgan Stanley’s stock rose 6 percent in premarket trading after the company reported a quarterly loss that was smaller than analysts had expected. The investment bank took a loss of 38 cents a share.

Stock in Philip Morris International rose nearly 2 percent in premarket trading after its net income grew more than 21 percent. The cigarette maker also increased its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday.

Before the opening bell, Dow futures are up 72 points at 12,580. S&P 500 futures are up 8 points at 1,329. Nasdaq 100 futures are up 11 points at 2,393.

Stocks dipped Wednesday as concerns about lifting the U.S. debt limit trumped strong earnings from Apple.