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U.S. stock futures rise on hopes of Europe debt plan

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NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stock futures rose Monday following a painful week in the financial markets on hopes that European leaders will come up with a new strategy to resolve the region's debt crisis.

Finance officials met in Washington this past weekend and pledged to take bolder steps to fight the debt problems, which threaten to slow the global economy. They offered few specifics.

German leaders want banks and private institutions that hold Greek bonds to take a bigger loss on those holdings to slash Athens' debt. European officials have also talked about increasing the $595 billion European rescue fund by perhaps allowing it to take loans from the European Central Bank.

Investors have been on edge about Europe's debt problems for months. Last week, the Dow Jones industrial average fell by 6.4 percent. That was its biggest drop since the week ended Oct. 10, 2008, when it fell 18 percent during the height of the financial crisis.

About 40 minutes ahead of the bell on Monday, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 103 points, or 1 percent, to 10,800 ahead of the opening bell.

Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 14, or 1.2 percent, to 1,144. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 17, or 0.8 percent, to 2,219.

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to report at 10 a.m. Eastern that new home sales fell for the fourth consecutive month in August, typically a peak time for home-buying. Economists forecast that new homes sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295,000 last month. In a healthy market, typically 700,000 new homes are sold.

In corporate news, Boeing Co. rose 2.5 percent ahead of the opening bell after an analyst said the company should be able to deliver strong earnings growth over the next several years if it can begin steady production of its 787 aircraft.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. rose 2.2 percent in premarket trading. A Citi analyst upgraded the company and predicted production growth at the oil and natural gas producer.

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