Futures Climb After German Court Backs ESM

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U.S. stock-index futures signaled gains for Wall Street after a powerful German court cleared the way for the ratification of the eurozone's permanent bailout fund.

Today's Markets

As of 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 41 points to 13334, S&P 500 futures gained 5.5 points to 1436 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 15 points to 2794.

The Dow is sitting at its highest level since December 2007. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 are both sitting right beneath multiyear highs as well.

Market participants have been waiting for weeks to hear a ruling from the German Constitutional Court on the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism. The ESM has a capacity of roughly $905 billion that is to be used as part of a broader plan to stem the eurozone's debt crisis that is now in its third year. Germany, seen as Europe's paymaster, was the last of the country in the 17-member bloc to ratify the ESM. After the country's parliament passed the measures, thousands of individuals called on the courts to intervene, on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

The court, based in Karlsruhe, backed the ESM, but on the condition that any German liability greater than $244 billion would require passage by the country's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.

"This is a good day for Germany and a good day for Europe," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to parliament, according to multiple media reports.

The euro rallied above $1.292, the highest level in four months, on the news. European equities broadly advanced. Still, market participants remained wary about the situation in the eurozone.

"More legislative and political challenges lay ahead," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG wrote in an email." Today’s ruling simply does nothing to change that larger story."

Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands holds parliamentary elections on the day. Analysts at Nomura noted that a win by the anti-European Union party, which is widely unexpected, could "negatively impact sentiment and threaten recovery efforts in the eurozone."

On the U.S. front, the Labor Department said import prices rose 0.7% in August from July, marking the first increase in five months, but coming up short of the 1.4% gain expected. Export prices rose 0.9%, topping estimates of 0.4%. A separate report due out later in the day is expected to show inventories at the wholesale level having risen 0.2% in July from June. Generally, wholesalers stock up when they are anticipating higher demand.

The Federal Reserve's monetary-policy meeting is set to kick off. It concludes with a highly-anticipated decision on Thursday. Market participants broadly expect more easing from the central bank, but the method that might be used is uncertain. Two contenders are another round of quantitative easing and a strengthening of the bank's forward guidance on interest rates.

In commodities, oil prices ticked up ahead of the weekly inventory report from the Energy Department. The benchmark contract traded in New York gained 40 cents, or 0.41%, to $97.56 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.72% to $3.065 a gallon.

In metals, gold increased $9.00, or 0.52%, to $1,743 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.74% to 2576, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.07% to 5796 and the German DAX jumped 0.77% to 7366.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 soared 1.7% to 8960 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 1.1% to 20075.