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Stock Futures Fall on Greece, U.S. Fiscal Cliff Concerns

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a lower open on Wall Street Monday as Greek debt and U.S. budgetary concerns continued to keep the markets on edge.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 53 points, or 73.68 points below fair value, at 12,908. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 6.20 points, or 7.65 points below fair value, at 1399. Futures for the Nasdaq were falling 7 points, or 10.79 points below fair value, at 2627.

Eurozone finance ministers were to reconvene for the third time in recent weeks to negotiate an agreement that might persuade international creditors to unlock the next tranche of bailout money to Greece before mid-December, when the country's next big debt repayment is due.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday provided reassurances that an agreement would be reached. Meanwhile, previous proposals on reducing the country's debt burden were raised again, including slashing interest rates on loans to Greece, a debt buyback and the European Central Bank's return of profits it generated through its Greek bond holdings.

Over the weekend a German media report indicated that some form of conditional forgiveness might be possible in 2015; however, the official stance in Berlin is that official sector debt forgiveness is not in the cards.

"While there is a good chance that an agreement is reached on Monday, we consider it unlikely that this will make Greek public finances sustainable on anything but paper," noted Michala Marcussen, global head of economics at Societe Generale.

Concerns over the so-called fiscal cliff in the U.S. will also be a main focus for investors as Congress returns to Washington this week.

Aneta Markowska, chief U.S. economist at Societe Generale, noted that part of the cliff concerns preferential tax rates on net investment income, and "the risk is that the capital gains tax could revert from 15% to 25%. At the macro and budget level, the impact hereof is modest, but there is clearly a risk of selling on financial markets into year-end."
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