NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock-market futures pointed to a mild retreat on Wall Street Monday after last weekâs strong gains, as Europeâs debt troubles offset indications of more potential stimulus from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
In Europe, finance ministers from 16 nations convened to consider means of stabilizing the region and avoiding more costly bailouts.
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âAhead of a meeting of European finance ministers today, disagreement still reigns amongst the group of what steps next to take with the size of the current facility and what to do with future debt restructurings,â wrote Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.
On Monday, Moodyâs Investor Service downgraded Hungaryâs public debt rating, saying its fiscal policies would not be sufficient in the long term.
And, in a Sunday interview on CBS Newsâ â60 Minutes,â Bernanke said the Fed could commit more money to boost the economy after last month announcing $600 billion of asset purchases. He said any decision would depend on inflation and the efficacy of the existing program, as well as how the economy looks overall. See full story on Bernankeâs interview.
âBernanke said if $600 billion of asset purchases doesnât do the job, then heâll keep on buying more,â noted Boockvar.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,353, -11.00, -0.10%) Â fell 23 points to 11,341.00, and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,219, -5.00, -0.41%) Â dropped 4.3 points to 1,219.20.
Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,183, -4.50, -0.21%) Â were down 3.75 points to 2,183.50.
The moves came after Wall Street questioned a disappointing payrolls report Friday, with some analysts saying the data could end up revised. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,382, +19.68, +0.17%) Â closed slightly higher for the session and added 2.6% over the course of the week.
Consumer confidence on tap
Consumer-credit data, consumer-confidence figures and the debt crisis in Europe will all be in focus in the U.S. Rex Crum reports.
âIt was a disappointing overall number, but the details were less negative and, since the number didnât jive with any of the regional data for November, many analysts believe that the revision will be to the upside,â Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist for Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote in a Monday note.
Over the weekend, prospects of a deal seemed to increase for a compromise that would extend jobless benefits for millions as well as, at least temporarily, Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans.
On the corporate front, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!pfe/quotes/nls/pfe (PFE 16.72, +0.03, +0.18%) Â late Sunday announced the unexpected retirement of Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler, who will be succeeded by Ian Read, head of the companyâs biopharmaceuticals arm. Kindler said the heavy demands of the job over the past four and a half years were behind his decision. Read more on Pfizerâs changes.
Shares of search engines AOL Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!aol/quotes/nls/aol (AOL 25.18, +0.61, +2.48%) Â and Yahoo Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!yhoo/quotes/nls/yhoo (YHOO 16.35, +0.02, +0.12%) Â are also likely to be in focus after Reuters reported AOL is exploring the possibility of a breakup of the business, which could lead to a merger with Yahoo.
Insurer MetLife Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!met/quotes/nls/met (MET 40.14, -0.33, -0.82%) Â said it expects fourth-quarter operating earnings of $1.04 to $1.14 a share and 2011 operating earnings of $4.75 to $5.15 a share. Analysts had, on average, been expecting earnings of $1.04 a share in the fourth quarter and $5.06 a share in 2011.
In New York, gold futures rose, lately nearing $1,414 an ounce, while crude-oil futures were down a nickel to $89.14 a barrel.
In international markets, Asian shares closed mostly lower, and European markets were mixed in midday trading. See Asia Markets.
The German DAX 30 index /quotes/comstock/30p!dax (DX:DAX 6,940, -8.18, -0.12%) Â was up 0.1%, and Japanâs Nikkei 225 closed down 0.1%.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.Powered By iWebRSS.com