Stock futures rise on hopes for European plan

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Stock futures rose Wednesday on hopes that Europe will finally take the bold steps needed to stem its financial crisis.

The European Union is expected to present a new plan Wednesday to strengthen weak banks and lower Greece’s debt burden. The plan is considered the boldest yet to stem the debt crisis that threatens to push the global economy into another recession.

The plan comes a day after Slovakia rejected a bill that would have given more power to Europe’s financial rescue program. Sixteen other countries that use the euro have already approved the bill, but the measure requires unanimous support. Still, there are ways around Slovakia’s opposition, and investors predict the bill will ultimately pass.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 95 points, or 0.8 percent, to 11,425 about 45 minutes before the opening bell.

Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures rose 10, or 0.8 percent, to 1,199. Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 26, or 1.1 percent, to 2,314.

Earnings season is under way, and so far results are mixed. PepsiCo Inc. rose 1.4 percent in premarket trading after the company said its profit rose because of stronger sales of its snacks and beverages, particularly in overseas markets.

Yet Alcoa Inc. dropped 4.1 percent ahead of the opening after the aluminum maker reported earnings that were weaker than analysts expected. A 12 percent drop in aluminum prices in the third quarter dragged down results.

Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. fell 3.2 percent after the lodging real estate investment trust lowered its full-year forecast for funds from operations, a key measure of its financial performance.