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Stock futures pointed to modest declines early Monday as U.S. traders, armed with little economic data or company news of their own, focused their trades around the euro and the ongoing European sovereign debt situation.
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As of 8:45 a.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 11 points to 11353, the S&P 500 futures were down 5 points to 1216.50 and the Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2.25 points to 2185.00.
As it has been for several weeks now, stocks closely tracked their performance to the dollar versus the euro. In early trading, the dollar was down 1.15% against the euro dragging energy-related commodities along with it.
Oil was down 0.3% to $88.97 a barrel and gold was up 0.5% to $1,413.50 a troy ounce.
The weakness in the euro comes on reports that Germany, easily one of the more influential members of the Eurozone, said it opposes increasing the size of the $1 trillion European bailout fund and the creation of Eurozone bonds. The news comes as investors continue to focus on Portugal and Spain following the bailout of Ireland late last month.
According to Bloomberg News, German Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen said his country opposes the creation of “E-Bonds” because it would not encourage debt laden Eurozone members to fix their finances. While Eurozone members all use the euro as their currency, each country still issues debt in their own names.
Here in the U.S., traders are reacting to a “60 Minutes” interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke where the central bank chief said the Fed could be open to more quantitative easing if inflation remains tame and the economy does not improve noticeably.
It was the second time that Bernanke has done an interview with “60 Minutes” the first being soon after the Treasury Department and the Fed cobbled together the $700 billion unpopular but somewhat successful TARP program.
“We’re not very far from the level where the economy is not self-sustaining,” Bernanke said, adding that he doesn’t think its likely the U.S. economy will slip back into a recession.
Shares of Dow component Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) were down 1% in pre-market trading after the company announced the unexpected departure of its CEO Jeffrey Kindler, who cited personal reasons for why he was stepping down. The company named current global pharmaceutical division executive Ian Read as Kindler’s replacement.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.25% to 5759.78, France's CAC 40 lost 0.43% to 3734.44 and Germany's DAX was down 0.03% to 6945.77.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.11% to 10167.20, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.36% to 23237.70 and China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.52% to 2857.18.