Stock futures point to lower Wall Street open

March 12th, 201210:04 am @


Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:43am EDT

(Reuters) – Stock index futures pointed to a lower open for equities on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the SP 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 falling 0.2 to 0.3 percent.

The U.S. Treasury Department issues its monthly budget for February at 1800 GMT. Economists forecast a $229.0 billion deficit, against a January budget deficit of $27.4 billion.

The Conference Board releases its employment trend index for February at 10.00 a.m. EDT. In January, the index read 105.8.

Federal prosecutors have nixed a tentative $1 billion settlement with Johnson Johnson, holding out for a bigger settlement with the drugmaker for alleged improper marketing of its Risperdal schizophrenia drug, the Wall Street Journal said.

A previously announced $25 billion settlement between five major banks accused of abusive mortgage practices will be filed in federal court on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group SA said on Monday Tiffany Co had served it with a 541.9 million franc ($590 million) counter-claim in a legal dispute with the U.S. jeweler over a severed cooperation agreement.

The World Trade Organization has broadly upheld a ruling that Boeing Co took billions of dollars of unfair subsidies, breathing new life into an epic trade spat that has already faulted European aid to Airbus, people familiar with the matter said.

Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc said it stopped a late-stage trial of its experimental lead drug to treat a heart disease due to lack of efficacy, sending its shares down 62 percent in aftermarket trade on Friday.

China’s trade balance plunged $31.5 billion into the red in February as imports swamped exports to leave the largest deficit in at least a decade and fuel doubts about the extent to which frail foreign demand or seasonal distortion drove the drop.

China’s central bank said on Monday the country has ample room to tweak policy to support credit growth in the face of volatile foreign capital flows that will inevitably see market forces play a greater role in determining the value of the yuan currency.

Sealy Corp’s second-largest shareholder has called for a shake up of the board, blaming the mattress maker’s private-equity backer and largest shareholder, KKR Co, for the company’s poor performance, the Wall Street Journal said.

U.S. airline JetBlue has spoken to the management of Aer Lingus about the possible purchase of a stake in the Irish airline, the Irish Times newspaper reported on Monday, citing informed sources.

The Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development hold a high-level two-day meeting in New York.

European stocks fell slightly on Monday, halting a sharp three-day rally as last week’s strong U.S. jobs data dampens expectation of further stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which holds its next meeting this week.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 14.08 points, or 0.11 percent, to 12,922.02 at the close. The Standard Poor’s 500 Index rose 4.96 points, or 0.36 percent, to 1,370.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 17.92 points, or 0.60 percent, to close at 2,988.34.

(Reporting By Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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