NEW YORK — Stock futures are rising, tracking European markets higher ahead of a meeting on Greece’s debt troubles and the release of fresh U.S. economic data.
The leaders of France, Germany and Greece are scheduled to meet on Wednesday. They’re expected to discuss ways to contain the debt crisis that has roiled financial markets.
The U.S. government said retail sales were flat in August. People spent less on autos, clothing and furniture as fears mounted that the U.S. was slipping into a recession and the stock market took a steep fall. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent rise.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said companies paid the same amount for wholesale goods last month as they did in July. A drop in energy prices offset higher food costs.
A report on business inventories in July is expected after the market opens.
One hour before the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 41 points, or 0.5 percent, to 11,062. S&P 500 index futures are up 6, or 0.5 percent, to 1,170. Nasdaq 100 futures are up 12, or 0.5 percent, to 2,227.
In premarket trading, computer maker Dell Inc. is up 2.5 percent. Dell said Tuesday that it will add $5 billion to its existing $2.1 billion stock-buyback plan. Dell bought $1.1 billion of its stock in the second quarter.
General Electric Co. and Berkshire Hathaway’s class B stock both rose 1 percent in premarket trading on news that GE offered to pay Warren Buffett’s firm $3.3 billion to buy back preferred stock. Berkshire made the investment in GE at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008.
GE and other industrial companies led stocks higher on Tuesday, the second day of gains in a row. It was the first back-to-back gain since the last week of August and only the third time the major indexes have closed higher this month.