Stocks were drifting lower ahead of the opening bell amid a downgrade on

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and continued unease about military action in Iraq. The bond market, meanwhile, is closed in observance of Veterans Day.

At 8:15 a.m. EST, the futures on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were both off four points.

Oracle shares were down 4.2% to $9.15, according to Instinet, after Deutsche Securities lowered its rating on the company to hold from buy on valuation concerns.

Elsehwere, shares of

Dianon Systems

(DIAN)

surged 17% to $47 after the company agreed to be acquired by

Laboratory Corporation of America

(LH) - Get Report

for $47.50 a share. Laboratory Corp. was off 1.9%

On Friday, stocks finished mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up a modest 19 points, or 0.2%, at 8537.06, the Nasdaq Composite nudging down 1.4 points, or 0.1%, to 1359.4, and the S&P 500 finishing lower 6.2 points, or 0.7%, to 894.74.