Futures Follow European Markets Lower

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Published February 04, 2013

| FOXBusiness

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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. 

Today's Markets

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. 

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. 

Foreign Markets

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.

URL

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2013/02/04/futures-follow-european-markets-lower/