US stock futures up; Greece decision postponed

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U.S. stock futures edged up early Friday after European finance ministers pushed back a decision about Greece’s next bailout.

European financial officials are meeting in Poland, joined by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The group’s leader said that it will not decide until next month whether Greece has qualified for its next round of bailout money.

Worries about a possible default by Greece have weighed on financial markets all summer. That kind of financial shock might tip the global economy back into recession.

At 9:15 a.m. Eastern time, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 7, or 0.1 percent, to 11,382. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures were nearly flat. Nasdaq 100 futures added 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,285.

Stocks have risen every day this week, their first four-day winning streak since August. The rally left the Dow 4 percent higher, and the S&P nearly 5. But both are down since the start of the month.

The S&P has recovered 8 percent since hitting its recent low about a month ago. But it remains 10 percent shy of its recent peak, reached on July 22.

Stocks have not risen for five days in a row since late June, before nervousness about the sluggish economy and Europe sent shares tumbling.

Banks in France and Germany hold billions in debt issued by Greece and other financially troubled nations. If one of those countries failed to pay its debts, those bonds would lose value. That could erode banks’ financial cushions, or even topple them.

Markets surged on Thursday after five central banks said they would offer unlimited dollar loans to the European banks. Some banks have been unable to borrow to pay for daily operations. They can’t get loans from other banks because no one knows how much bad debt they hold.

European markets continued to rise early Friday. But by mid-day in Europe, major indexes had fallen back to more modest gains. Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC 40 and London’s FTSE 100 all rose by less than a percent. Market indexes in Italy and Ireland rose more on hopes that a solution for Greece would help those nations escape financial pain.

Earlier, Asian markets closed higher.

Shares of Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd. lost more than one-fifth of their value on pre-market trading after the company reported a sharp drop in net income and revenue in the three months ended Aug. 27. The company sold far fewer tablets and phones than expected as it struggled to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad.

The troubled company has lost more than half of its market value this year. RIM said July that it would lay off 2,000 workers.

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Daniel Wagner can be reached at www.twitter.com/wagnerreports .