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Stock Futures Lower on Iraq Concerns

By Tomi Kilgore U.S. stock futures held losses through data showing manufacturing activity in New York was stronger than expected. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures shed 37 points, or 0.2%, to 16660. S&P 500 index futures lost four points, or 0.2%, to 1924, and Nasdaq 100 futures gave up seven points, or 0.2%, to 3762. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell. On Friday, the Dow rose 42 points, or 0.2%, but suffered its first weekly decline in four weeks. And the S&P 500's 0.7% decline last week was the biggest weekly percentage decline in two months, but the index closed Friday just 0.8% below its June 9 record closing high of 1951.27. The New York Federal Reserve's Empire State index of manufacturing activity for June rose slightly to 19.3 from 19.0 in May, versus expectations of a decline to 15.0. Still on tap, industrial production for May, due out at 9:15 a.m., is seen rising 0.5% on the month, while capacity utilization is forecast to increase to 78.9% from April's 78.6%. After the open, the National Association of Home Builders' June housing market index is expected to tick up to 47 from 45 a month ago. Investors will also be looking ahead to the release of the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement on Wednesday and Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's press conference. The Fed is widely expected to announce another $10 billion reduction in its highly stimulative bond buying program to $35 billion a month. But investors will be looking for any changes in the Fed members' economic projections that might influence policy going forward. Worries about the potential escalation of violence in Iraq contributed to the early weakness in stock futures. Over the weekend, the radical Sunni militia ISIS bragged that it had executed hundreds of Shiite Iraqi soldiers. The U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over the weekend as President Barack Obama weighed options for possible military involvement. The increased tension in Iraq, a major supplier of oil, has pushed crude oil prices higher and supported gains in investments seen as safe havens, such as gold and U.S. Treasurys. Crude oil futures inched up 0.1% to $107.08 a barrel, after surging 4.1% last week to settle near a nine-month high. Gold futures advanced 0.7% to $1,282.50 an ounce, after rising Friday for a fifth-straight session, the longest win streak in three months. And the yield on the 10-year Treasury note eased to 2.584% from 2.601% late Friday. Yields decline as Treasury prices rise. Write to Tomi Kilgore at tomi.kilgore@wsj.com

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