By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures stepped back Thursday, as nervousness over national debt burdens continued amid market gyrations.
S&P 500 futures fell marginally to 1,169.10 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 3.5 points to 1,969.20. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2 points.
Upbeat outlooks from IBM and Fluor and a leaked report about SAP's impending acquisition of Sybase helped lift U.S. stocks on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 rising 1.4% and other major indexes also gaining ground.TODAY'S INTERNATIONAL MARKET STORIES
Global Dowâ¢ MarketWatch Topics: Greece â¢ Asia Markets | Europe Markets | LatAm Markets â¢ Canadian Markets | Israel Stocks | London â¢ U.S.: Market Snapshot | After Hours
Highlights â¢ Sony's quarterly loss narrows to $608 million â¢ Telefonica income rises less-than-forecast 2% â¢ 3i shares get boost as asset valuations improve â¢ BT swings to stronger-than-forecast profit â¢ Tullett Prebon shares slump after bid talks end/conga/story/misc/international.html 76627
The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (CUR_EURUSD 1.2559, -0.0069, -0.5464%) on Thursday continued its downturn from the $1.31 level reached in the aftermath of the European Union-International Monetary Fund 750 billion euro aid package, retreating below $1.26.
"Global risk is likely to decouple further from the euro and fundamental variations are likely to move increasingly to the fore as currency drivers again," said Michael Hart, a strategist at Citi.
A $980 million payment that Dubai property developer Nakheel must make today is also bringing the sovereign debt crisis back into the spotlight.
The British pound /quotes/comstock/21o!x:sgbpusd (CUR_GBPUSD 1.4702, -0.0126, -0.8497%) also moved lower after the U.K. reported a widening trade gap.
Oil futures dropped below the $75 a barrel level, and even high-flying gold struggled, with futures on the yellow metal falling $8.10 to $1,235 an ounce.
On the economics front, weekly jobless claims are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern and the Treasury is selling $16 billion of 30-year bonds. A number of speeches from Federal Reserve officials also are expected.
Of companies in the spotlight, Sybase /quotes/comstock/13*!sy/quotes/nls/sy (SY 56.14, +14.57, +35.05%) rose nearly 15% in premarket trade following news that SAP /quotes/comstock/13*!sap/quotes/nls/sap (SAP 44.90, -0.47, -1.04%) will buy the company for $5.8 billion, or $65 a share.
Deutsche Bank /quotes/comstock/13*!db/quotes/nls/db (DB 65.03, +0.78, +1.21%) , Citi /quotes/comstock/13*!c/quotes/nls/c (C 4.18, +0.01, +0.24%) , UBS /quotes/comstock/13*!ubs/quotes/nls/ubs (UBS 14.98, +0.22, +1.49%) and J.P. Morgan Chase /quotes/comstock/13*!jpm/quotes/nls/jpm (JPM 41.69, +0.14, +0.34%) also have been caught up in the criminal probe into mortgage bond deal disclosure to investors, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Separately, The New York Times reported that Goldman Sachs /quotes/comstock/13*!gs/quotes/nls/gs (GS 147.20, +5.23, +3.68%) , Morgan Stanley /quotes/comstock/13*!ms/quotes/nls/ms (MS 27.80, -0.58, -2.04%) , UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse /quotes/comstock/13*!cs/quotes/nls/cs (CS 44.10, +1.25, +2.92%) , Deutsche Bank /quotes/comstock/13*!db/quotes/nls/db (DB 65.03, +0.78, +1.21%) , Credit Agricole and the Merrill Lynch unit of Bank of America /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 17.07, -0.09, -0.52%) are being probed by the New York attorney general over disclosure to rating agencies.
Cisco /quotes/comstock/15*!csco/quotes/nls/csco (CSCO 26.74, +0.78, +3.00%) slipped 1.9% after the networking giant reported a 63% profit jump but also projected sales fiscal fourth-quarter sales growth in line with analyst estimates.
Sony /quotes/comstock/13*!sne/quotes/nls/sne (SNE 33.24, -0.33, -0.98%) reported a narrowing of its fiscal fourth-quarter loss and said it expects an annual profit.
BT Group /quotes/comstock/13*!bt/quotes/nls/bt (BT 17.93, +0.04, +0.22%) returned to a stronger-than-forecast fiscal fourth-quarter profit as the U.K. company avoided a repeat of last year's hefty charge from its global services arm.
Asian stocks rallied, with the Nikkei 225 climbing 2.2% and the Shanghai Composite rising 2%.
Europe stocks wavered by mid-morning trade, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index up 0.3%.
Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.