Stock futures tumble on euro woes

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Published: June 1,2010

Tags: investing, stocks and bonds, world markets

NEW YORK — Stock futures tumbled today after the euro fell to a new four-year low.

Major U.S. indexes are set to resume their slide due to fresh concerns about the health of Europe’s economic recovery. Stocks fell late Friday ahead of the long holiday weekend after Fitch Ratings cut its view on Spain’s debt.

A slowdown in manufacturing in China is also worrying investors.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 122 points Friday. Dow futures are down another 114 points early yesterday.

The euro fell as low as $1.2112 before easing off that low to $1.2127. Markets worldwide have been tracking the euro, the currency used by 16 countries in Europe. The euro has been seen as an indication for confidence in whether countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal will be able to cut spending to contain mounting debt without stalling a recovery.

Investors in recent weeks have used any signs of weakening around the world to sell stocks and move into safe-haven investments like the dollar and U.S. Treasurys.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow futures fell 114, or 1.1 percent, to 10,012. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures dropped 14.80, or 1.4 percent, to 1,073.70, while Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 21.25, or 1.2 percent, to 1,830.75.

Stocks were hammered last month because of the concerns about a global slowdown. The Dow had its worst May performance since 1940, falling nearly 8 percent. All 30 components of the index fell during the month and the index has dropped in nine of the past 12 trading sessions.

Asian markets fell after a new report showed China’s manufacturing sector slowed last month. China has had one of the world’s strongest economies in recent years, so any slowdown there could stoke fears that a global rebound is slowing.

In the U.S., investors are awaiting a reading on manufacturing as well. The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly manufacturing index likely fell to 59 last month from 60.4 in April, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

While the index would indicate manufacturing slowed slightly last month, any reading above 50 still indicates expansion in the sector. Manufacturing has shown some of the steadiest growth in the U.S. as the country emerges from recession.

A separate report is expected to show that construction spending was flat in April after growing 0.2 percent in March. The housing sector was one of the hardest hit markets during the recession and it has struggled to recover. Analysts are worried that the housing market could weaken more after the expiration of a home buyer tax credit in April.

Both the construction spending and manufacturing reports are due out at 10 a.m. EDT.

In corporate news, shares of BP Plc tumbled in premarket trading after its latest attempt to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico failed. Shares in the U.S. dropped $6.31, or 14.7 percent, to $36.64 in premarket trading.

With stock futures falling, bond prices rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.24 percent from 3.29 percent late Friday.

Overseas, Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 2.2 percent, Germany’s DAX index fell 1.8 percent, and France’s CAC-40 tumbled 2.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.6 percent.

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