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US Stock Futures Lower On Renewed Worries Over Greece

By Barbara Kollmeyer U.S. stock index futures fell on Monday, tracking losses in Asia and Europe, as investors eyed a European Union summit amid fresh worries over Greece's ability to sort out its financial difficulties. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 70 points, or 0.6%, to 12,544. Those for the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 8 points to 1,304.50. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 shed 15 points, or 0.6%, to 2,441.25. China stocks reopened lower after a week of holidays and the Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.8% to 253.51, as tensions appeared to be brewing over Greece ahead of a summit of European Union leaders set for later on Monday. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday that Greece must take the necessary steps to get its economy and finances in order, or euro-zone leaders may not grant it a fresh bailout. That comes on the heels of weekend reports that Germany wants to appoint a European Union commissioner with veto power over Greece's finances, a proposal that was subsequently dismissed by Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Also over the weekend, negotiators said an agreement was close over a voluntary debt swap between Greece and its private creditors. Talks are expected to continue this week. "There is much for the markets in this week's developments," said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin, in emailed comments. "Greece might get its second bailout and EU leaders might indicate their readiness to sign up to a fiscal compact. "Anything that takes the euro zone closer to resolving its crisis will boost risk assets," Lenhoff said. "In America, this Friday's non-farm payrolls may confirm that the momentum behind the economy is still gathering steam. We expect it will. And in the developing world, central bank policy is refocusing on growth." U.S. stock markets finished mixed last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) down 0.5% from the prior Friday and the S&P 500 index up just 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.1% on a weekly basis. Stocks were weighed down Friday after disappointment over U.S. gross domestic product numbers for the fourth quarter. Economic data for Monday include personal income and consumer spending for December, due for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Shares of Thomas & Betts Corp. (TNB) jumped nearly 23% in pre-open after Swiss-based ABB Ltd. (ABB) said it has agreed to buy the North American supplier of power-transmission lines for $3.9 billion in cash, or $72 a share. Shares of Alkermes PLC (ALKS) rose 15% and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMLN) gained 17% in pre-open action after announcing late Friday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved their diabetes drug Bydureon. The corporate reporting calendar is lighter, with results from Gannett Co., Inc. (GCI) and McKesson Corp. (MCK) due to report ahead of the opening bell. Among commodities, gold futures fell as the dollar advanced amid Greece worries. Futures for February delivery fell $10.70 to $1,721.50 an ounce. The dollar index, which measures the U.S. unit against a basket of six other currencies, traded at 79.239, compared to a level of 78.854 seen in late North American trading on Friday. Crude-oil futures for March delivery fell 50 cents to $99.04 a barrel. -Barbara Kollmeyer; 415-439-6400; [email protected]

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