NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were set for mild gains Thursday, as European leaders met in Brussels in an effort to contain Greece's debt crisis.
Dow Jones industrial average (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) futures were higher ahead of the opening bell. Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.
Before the summit's official start, two crucial players -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy -- reached consensus on a deal that would provide more aid to Greece.
After starting the trading session in negative territory, European markets rebounded as talks got underway. Stocks were slightly higher in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3%, the DAX in Germany gained 0.7% and France's CAC 40 was flat.
"Greece is going to be issue No. 1," said Rick Fier, vice president at Conifer Securities. "There are a lot of mixed signals coming out of the meeting, and investors will be paying close attention."
U.S. stocks ended little changed Wednesday, as investors moved to the sidelines to survey the latest twists in the debt ceiling drama.
The lull came a day after the Dow posted its strongest one-day rally of the year, amid optimism that a deal to raise the ceiling would finally be reached.
Despite President Obama's indication that he would support a plan to raise the debt ceiling that had been floated by a bipartisan group of senators, investors are still concerned that the Gang of Six's plan may not have enough time or support to make it through Congressional negotiations by Aug. 2.
Still, investors remain optimistic lawmakers will strike a deal.
"It's the government," Fier said. "The debt ceiling will be raised ... it's just a matter of when and how much politics is involved."
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve will release its July manufacturing survey at 10 a.m. ET.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee starting at 10 a.m. ET Thursday. The chairman is speaking on the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law.
Companies: Express Scripts ( , Fortune 500) announced early Thursday morning it will buy Medco Health Solutions ( , Fortune 500) in a deal worth $29.1 billion, combining two of the country's largest pharmacy benefit managers. Shares of Medco jumped more than 20% in premarket trading.
Travelers (Fortune 500) reported a net loss of $364 million, or 88 cents per share, on revenue of $6.4 billion. The insurer said it had $1.1 billion in catastrophe losses due to extraordinary tornado activity in April and May.,
Morgan Stanley (Fortune 500) reported a net loss of 38 cents per share, on revenues of $9.3 billion for the second quarter. Analysts had expected the bank to post a loss of 64 cents a share.,
Struggling phone maker Nokia reported a second-quarter loss, but shares were up 3.1% in premarket trading.
Citing strong wireless sales, AT&T (Fortune 500) topped analyst earnings estimates by one cent, reporting earnings of 60 cents per share on revenue of $31.5 billion.,
World markets: Asian markets ended lower, after China reported weak manufacturing data for July. The Shanghai Composite shed 1% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 0.1%, while Japan's Nikkei was flat.
Oil for September delivery slipped 89 cents to $97.59 a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery dropped 90 cents to $1,596.00 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped, pushing the yield up to 2.94% from 2.93% late Wednesday.
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