At 7:45 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures had slid 43 points to 11,899, S&P 500 futures slipped 6 points to 1,245 and Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 8.3 points to 2,343. Mounting political instability in Italy is now coming to the forefront as “The New Greece”. It appears investors may be in for a volatile week as the drama continues to unfold in Europe.
European blue chips fell 0.46%, while the euro slid 0.57% to $1.375. The U.S. dollar rose 0.2% against a basket of six world currencies.
The English FTSE 100 slid 0.62% to 5,493 and the French CAC 40 slipped 0.27% to 5,950.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 dropped 0.39% to 8,767 and the Chinese Hang Seng slumped 0.83% to 19,678.
Energy markets held on to gains despite a strengthening U.S. dollar.
The benchmark American crude oil contract rose 39 cents, or 0.42%, to $94.67 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline rose 3 cents, or 1%, to $2.69 a gallon.
Gold climbed $19.90, or 1.1%, to $1,776 a troy ounce. The yield on U.S. government debt was modestly lower. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yields 2.034% from 2.040%.
The sovereign debt crisis that started in the periphery of the euro zone may already be spreading straight into the European Union’s core. Italy has seen its public debt balloon to 119% of its GDP in 2010 from 106% in 2008, raising the question of how and when the Italians will need assistance. Italy needs to institute measures quickly to reduce its public sector. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has seen his majority in parliament slowly disintegrate, paralyzing his ability to push needed reforms through parliament as the European Union is ramping up pressure to enact changes.
Stocks to watch today include DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH), priceline.com Incorporated (NASDAQ:PCLN) and American Dental Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADPI)