After Big Columbus Day Rally, U.S. Futures Sink


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U.S. stock futures declined modestly Tuesday morning as traders analyze the latest developments out of Europe's sovereign debt crisis, indicating Wall Street may give back a bit of its best day in almost two months.

Today's Markets

As of 9:01 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 56 points, or 0.49%, to 11312, the Standard & Poor's 500 futures dipped 8.00 points, or 0.67%, to 1183.25 and the Nasdaq 100 lost 10.25 points, or 0.45%, to 2266.50.

The early negative market action comes after the Dow soared 330 points to three-week highs on Monday on enthusiasm for new signs Europe is racing to get its debt debacle under control by stabilizing its banking system before it pushes the U.S. into a painful double-dip recession.

Volume is expected to pick up on Tuesday as normal business resumes after Columbus Day, which caused U.S. bond markets to close.

Without any major economic indicators to use for direction, the markets continued to take their cues from Europe, which is still grappling with its debt crisis.

Traders backed a bit away from risky assets as Slovakia's Parliament may reject on Tuesday the euro zone plan to bolster the bailout fund to 440 euros ($600.34 billion). Slovakia is the last of the 17 nations that needs to approve the measure, which is seen as central to easing the crisis. However, the legislature can take the matter up again, likely under a different ruling government.

Policy makers must also decide how big of a haircut banks must take on their holdings of toxic Greek debt. According to Dow Jones Newswires, haircuts, or writedowns, of 40% to 60% are being mulled, well higher than the 21% tentatively agreed to in July.

Meanwhile, debt inspectors in Greece said the country will most likely receive the next batch of rescue loans in early November, relieving some who feared Athens would default if the money was withheld.

With that backdrop in mind, European markets gave back some of their Monday gains and the euro declined 0.27% against the U.S. dollar.

Wall Street is allowing at least some of its attention to shift back to the U.S. as earnings season is set to kick off after the closing bell when aluminum maker Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is scheduled to release results. The Dow member, which is traditionally the first company to report, is expected to earn 22 cents a share on revenue just north of $6 billion.

Analysts have been trimming their forecasts for earnings as concerns of a double-dip recession increased last month. S&P 500 companies are expected to grow quarterly profits by 12.6% year-over-year, down from 17% on July 1, according to Thomson Reuters. Results from JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are likely to make waves on Thursday.

In the commodities complex, crude oil fell 39 cents a barrel, or 0.46%, to $85.20. Gold slid $6.20 a troy ounce, or 0.38%, to $1,664.60. Economically-sensitive copper tumbled 3.24% a pound to $3.2585.

Corporate Movers

Dollar Thrifty (NYSE:DTG) abandoned its long-standing plans to sell itself after the car rental service failed to come to terms with rivals Avis (NYSE:CAR) or Hertz (NYSE:HTZ).

Global Markets

London's FTSE 100 declined 0.81% to 5355.10, Germany's DAX slid 0.80% to 5800.79 and France's CAC 40 lost 0.77% to 3137.15.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.95% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng leaped 2.43% to 18141.60.