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Wall Street was poised to pull back from five-year highs Monday as eurozone political worries climbed back into the spotlight.
As of 8:05 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 45 points to 13885, S&P 500 futures dipped 5 points to 1502 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 8.5 points to 2748.
The Dow roared passed the 14000 mark for the first time since October 2007 Friday, while the broader S&P 500 also logged its highest close in five years. Both market averages also sit within range of their record highs; however, the Nasdaq still has a long way to go before nearing its tech-bubble era records.
After fading deep into the background, concerns about the still fragile political environment in Europe flared up again on Monday, putting stocks there under considerable pressure.
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In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faced increasing calls to resign, and falling public support, after newspaper El Pais reported last week his Popular Party was involved in a slush fund scandal in which individuals, including Rajoy, received non-salary payments for at least 18 years. Rajoy firmly denied the allegations, but it wasn't enough to stem a sharp slide in an El Pais opinion poll that ranks the party at a slim 24% approval rating.
Then in Italy, analysts said there was a rising specter that national elections set to be conducted later this month will result in parliament where neither side has total control. The country, Europe's third-biggest economy, is still struggling with a heavy sovereign debt load, slow growth, and a public broadly tired of austerity.
"The risk of ungovernability remains very high, in our view," Silvio Peruzzo, an economist at Nomura, wrote in a note to clients. "...fragmentation of the political landscape renders it increasingly likely that the shape of the government will be decided as a consequence of post-election alliances rather than from a decisive vote."
Most important from a market perspective, the yields on both countries benchmark 10-year bonds climbed Monday. Italy's borrowing costs are at 4.39%, up 0.06-percentage point from last week, while Spain's costs rose 0.11-percentage point to 5.31%. Both are still far off crisis-era highs, but sufficient to stoke concerns. Indeed, the Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks eurozone blue-chip stocks, sold off by more than 1%.
Oil futures were down sharply as well as tensions between the West and Iran cooled over the weekend. The benchmark U.S. contract skidded 96 cents, or 0.98%, to $96.80 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.84% to $3.028 a gallon.
In metals, gold dropped $4.80, or 0.29%, to $1,666 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 slid 1.2% to 2678, the English FTSE 100 dropped 0.9% to 6290 and the German DAX sunk 0.77% to 7774.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 climbed 0.62% to 11260 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.16% to 23685.