* PepsiCo climbs in premarket after results
* Rite Aid to buy EnvisionRx for about $ 2 billion
* Pier 1 tumbles after outlook cut
* Futures: Dow down 30 pts, S&P off 1.5 pts, Nasdaq up 2 pts (Adds quote, updates prices)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were poised for a flat open on Wednesday after the S&P 500 climbed to its highest level of the year and ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers to discuss plans for Greece’s debt.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis headed for a showdown with euro zone finance ministers to deal with the nation’s debt crisis at a meeting scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. (1630 GMT) after his new leftist-led government won a parliamentary confidence vote for its refusal to extend an international bailout.
“It looks like we are kind of hanging in and waiting to see if there are any fireworks,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
“The way these things have always gone is they play out until the very last second and then the sides come together. My understanding is the very last second is the end of the month so I don’t know why anybody is even thinking something is going to be struck here.”
The benchmark S&P index rose more than 1 percent on Tuesday on hopes negotiations would result in a deal to help stabilize the euro zone. The index is now down 1.1 percent from its latest record high set on Dec. 29.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 1.5 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a flat open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 30 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 2 points.
PepsiCo rose 2.7 percent to $ 100.67 before the opening bell after the maker of soft drinks and Tropicana beverages reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, and said it would buy back shares worth up to $ 12 billion by 2018.
Despite some high-profile earnings misses from large multinational companies, largely as a result of dollar strength, Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning showed 72.7 percent of the 341 S&P 500 components that have reported earnings topped expectations, above the 69 percent beat rate in the past four quarters.
Apple Inc will buy about $ 850 million of power from a First Solar plant in California to cut its energy bill and supply energy to the company’s campus, offices and stores in the state. Apple shares edged up 0.4 percent to $ 122.53 in premarket while First Solar added 0.5 percent to $ 48.78.
Rite Aid jumped 8.2 percent to $ 8.20 before the opening bell. The drugstore operator said it would buy privately held pharmacy benefit manager EnvisionRx for about $ 2 billion.
Pier 1 Imports plunged 32.7 percent to $ 11.43 in premarket after the furniture retailer cut its 2015 profit forecast, citing weak sales in January and February.
After the closing bell, earnings are expected from Applied Materials, Cisco Systems, TripAdvisor and Whole Foods Market.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)
- Investment & Company Information