Published October 08, 2012
NEW YORK – Stock index futures fell on Monday after the World Bank cut its growth forecasts for East Asia, highlighting concerns about the global economic climate and corporate profits ahead of the upcoming earnings season.
The international lender reduced its growth forecasts for the for East Asia and Pacific region and said there was a risk the slowdown in China could worsen and last longer than many analysts have forecast.
China, the world's second largest economy, has seen its economy hampered by the euro zone debt crisis as the nation is a large trade partner with Europe.
The third-quarter earnings season will kick off on Tuesday with results from Dow component Alcoa Inc . Analysts expect Alcoa's third-quarter results to show it broke even, down from a profit of 15 cents per share a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Recent earnings warnings from large multinationals such as FedEx Corp , Caterpillar Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co which have cited weakness in Europe and China have left investors cautious about the prospects for corporate profits.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, 91 companies in the S&P 500 have issued a negative outlook versus 21 positive preannouncements for a ratio of 4.3, the weakest showing since the third-quarter of 2001.
On Monday, S&P 500 futures fell 5.5 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 47 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 16.25 points.
There are no economic events or S&P 500 companies scheduled to report earnings on Monday and trading may be light for the Columbus Day holiday.
Apple Inc shares dipped 0.8 percent to $647.50 in premarket after Foxconn, the Taiwanese made-to-order electronics giant that assembles the iPhone makers products denied reports that a plant in China was crippled by a strike.
Health insurer UnitedHealth Group said it would buy a 90 percent stake in Amil Participacoes SA
Wal-Mart Stores Inc and American Express will hold a conference call on Monday to make a financial services announcement, the two companies said in a statement on Sunday.
General Motors Co and its China joint ventures sold 244,266 vehicles in the country in September, up 1.7 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. automaker said.
Asian and European shares also fell in the wake of the World Bank growth forecasts for East Asia.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak Editing by W Simon)