Iraq Instability Pressures Stock Futures, Lifts Oil

By MarketsFOXBusiness

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures fell on Monday as ongoing tumult in Iraq sent oil prices climbing.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 47 points, or 0.28%, to 16650, S&P 500 futures dipped 5.3 points, or 0.26%, to 1923 and Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 8.2 points, or 0.22%, to 3761.

Geopolitical volatility is morphing into anxiety on Wall Street. The situation in Iraq continued escalating over the weekend, with an offshoot of terrorist group Al Qaeda holding control of numerous cities and marching closer to Baghdad. In a sign of the struggle, the U.S. State Department requested assistance from the military in defending the embassy in the Iraqi capital.

"Iraq is still weighing heavily on investors’ minds," Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, said in an e-mail,adding, "There is very real concern that ISIS will march on Baghdad."

The tumult in oil-rich region sent crude prices climbing. The benchmark U.S. contract recently rose 12 cents, or 0.11%, to $107.03 a barrel. It trades near a six-month high. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.03% to $3.059 a gallon. Gold, seen as a safe haven, advanced $7.10, or 0.57%, to $1,282 a troy ounce.

Meanwhile, on the corporate front, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) said it would buy Covidien (NYSE:COV) in a deal valued at $42.9 billion. Hillshire Brands' (NYSE:HSH) board of directors said it advised withdrawing an offer to buy Pinnacle Foods (NYSE:PF) on the back of Tyson Foods' (NYSE:TSN) plans to buy Hillshire. Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) said it would purchase tw telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC) in a deal worth about $5.6 billion.

On the economic front, there is a report due out on factory activity in the New York region and an update on homebuilder sentiment. The International Monetary Fund also provides an update on its U.S. economic forecasts.

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