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Premarket futures were forecasting a lower open for stocks in New York Monday, as financial firms once again took action to dull the impact of impending economic squalor.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were up 0.4 points at 862 but were 10 below fair value.


futures were lower by 2 points at 1154 and were 27 short of fair value.

On Friday, stocks ended on the downside following the release of the worst retail sales data on record and disheartening corporate earnings statements.

Over the weekend, members of the Group of 20 finance ministers convened in Washington to try to prevent further economic decline. The meeting resulted in a decision not to raise barriers to trade for 2009, to delegate additional money to the International Monetary Fund and to set up regulatory bodies to detect risky investment.

Ahead of Monday's session, there were additional signs that companies were prepping for hard times. A report in Britain's

Sunday Telegraph


JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JP Morgan Chase & Co. Report

would be laying off thousands of workers in 2009.

Elsewhere in the financials, top managers at

Goldman Sachs

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(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report

were declining to take bonuses for 2008, accepting only their salaries.


Genworth Financial

(GNW) - Get Genworth Financial Inc Report

applied with the Office of Thrift Supervision to become a savings and loan holding company and moved to buy a bank, moves that make it able to secure funding under the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Uncertainty was even hitting holiday package deliveries. Shipper


(UPS) - Get United Parcel Service Inc. Report

elected not to forecast the number of packages it would deliver on its peak shipping season and declined to forecast the number of seasonal workers it would hire.

In the automotive sector,

General Motors

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

was getting ready to sell its 3% stake in

Suzuki Motor

for $230 million.

As to economic data, New York's November Empire State index is due for release, as are October industrial production and capacity utilization figures from the

Federal Reserve


Switching to commodities, crude oil was down $1.17 to $55.87 a barrel. Gold was shedding 30 cents to $742.20 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was adding 5/32 to yield 3.72%, and the 30-year was gaining 6/32, yielding 4.22%. The dollar was rising vs. the euro and pound but weakening against the yen.

Abroad, European exchanges such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were losing ground. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei ended the day higher, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed on the downside.