MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Face Another Down Day As Risk To Merkel Worries Investors

By Barbara Kollmeyer and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Euro tumbles vs. rivals after German coalition talks fall apart

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U.S. stock futures on Monday signaled small losses at the open, as political uncertainty in Germany appeared to help limit investors' appetite for riskier assets such as equities.

Trading volumes are likely to gradually thin out this week, given the runup to Thanksgiving Day on Thursday and the likelihood that no action will be taken on a U.S. tax overhaul until after the holiday.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dipped by 13 points, or 0.1%, to 23,303, while S&P 500 futures slipped by 1.55 points, or 0.1%, to 2,574.75. Nasdaq-100 futures inched lower by 0.50 point, or less than 0.1%, to 6,312.75.

On Friday, the Dow and the S&P 500 closed down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/weekly-win-for-us-stocks-in-jeopardy-as-russia-probe-moves-closer-to-trump-2017-11-17), and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2%. The S&P and Dow logged a second straight week of losses as investors kept a close eye on the progress of the Republican tax cut plan. The two gauges finished last week nearly 1% below their Nov. 8 record closes.

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What are other assets doing?

The euro tumbled toward the $1.17 level (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-plummets-as-uncertainty-in-germany-rattles-markets-2017-11-19) early Monday, after German governmental coalition talks broke down (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/merkels-future-in-doubt-as-german-coalition-negotiations-break-down-2017-11-19) on Sunday, keeping the country's government in limbo and casting doubt over Chancellor Angela Merkel's future as leader. But the shared currency has pared losses and recently traded around $1.18, aided in part by a report in German newspaper Bild that the Free Democratic Party is ready to support a minority government headed by Merkel. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was scheduled to make a statement (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-president-steinmeier-to-make-statement-after-collapse-of-coalition-talks-2017-11-20) on Monday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was higher, while the German DAX 30 index also gained after paring morning losses (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-stage-recovery-in-wake-of-german-political-uncertainty-2017-11-20). In Asian trading hours, the Nikkei (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-slides-dragging-down-asian-stock-markets-2017-11-19) dropped 0.6% after the euro's slide pushed up the yen , considered a haven in times of economic and political uncertainty.

Oil futures and gold prices drifted south.

Don't miss:The euro still 'can break higher' -- analysts react to Germany's political uncertainty (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-euro-still-can-break-higher-analysts-react-to-germanys-political-uncertainty-2017-11-20)

What are strategists saying?

"The caution from Asia is likely to rollover into European markets which are currently tussling with renewed political uncertainty, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's failure to form a new government over the weekend," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.

"With uncertainty over U.S. tax reforms and political risk in Europe eroding appetite for riskier assets, Wall Street could come under further selling pressure," Otunuga said in a note to clients.

See:This green-energy stock is getting whacked by tax-reform fears -- here's how to play it (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-green-energy-stock-is-getting-whacked-by-tax-reform-fears-heres-how-to-play-it-2017-11-20)

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares of Cavium Inc.(CAVM) could be active after a report Marvell Technology Group Ltd.(MRVL) is nearing a deal to buy the chip maker for about $6 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/marvell-said-to-be-near-6-billion-deal-to-buy-chip-maker-caviun-2017-11-19). An announcement could be made as soon as Monday, according to sources, The Wall Street Journal reported (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/marvell-said-to-be-near-6-billion-deal-to-buy-chip-maker-caviun-2017-11-19).

Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.(BABA) gained 1% in premarket action after the e-commerce giant said it will buy a 36% stake in Chinese big-box retailer Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. (6808.HK) for $2.88 billion.

What economic data are due?

A report on leading economic indicators for October is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Read:Fed speeches show readiness to raise rates next month, wariness about recession (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-speeches-show-readiness-to-raise-rates-next-month-and-a-wariness-about-next-recession-2017-11-17)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 20, 2017 06:39 ET (11:39 GMT)