Futures Dip on Euro Debt Concerns

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures followed most Asian and European markets lower Monday as Wall Street weighed upcoming euro-zone bond auctions amid the start of earnings season.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 34 points, or 35 points below fair value, at 11,585. Futures for the S&P 500 were lower by nearly 5 points, or 5 points below fair value, at 1,263, and Nasdaq futures were down by 4 points, or 7 points below fair value.

Stocks weakened Friday after December job growth fell short of expectations, despite a better-than-expected unemployment rate of 9.4%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.7% and China's Shanghai Composite lost 1.7% as December exports in China rose by a less-than-expected 17.9% after jumping 34.9% in November.

European markets were lower as yields on Portuguese, Belgian and Spanish bonds jumped amid upcoming euro-zone bond auctions and concerns that Portugal may be the next country to seek European Union bailout funds. London's FTSE was losing 0.4%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was down by 0.9%.

There are no economic reports scheduled for Monday's session, but earnings season unofficially kicks off after the close of trading with fourth-quarter results from Alcoa ( AA). Analysts are anticipating earnings of 19 cents a share, up from a profit of 1 cent a share a year ago, according to Briefing.com. Alcoa shares were trading 1% higher at $16.59 ahead of Monday's opening bell.

In corporate news, DuPont ( DD) agreed to buy Danish food ingredients company Danisco for $5.8 billion in cash and the assumption of $500 million Danisco debt. DuPont expects the purchase to close early in the second quarter and be accretive to cash and earnings in 2012. DuPont's stock was down 1.5% to $49.01 ahead of Monday's opening bell.

Duke Energy ( DUK) and rival Progress Energy ( PGN) will merge in a stock-for-stock transaction resulting in an energy company with a market capitalization of $37 billion. In early trading, Duke's stock was down 1.1% at $17.59 and Progress shares were down by 1.7% at $45.97.

Shares of Smith & Nephew ( SNN) were up 11.5% to $56.65 ahead of the opening bell on news that the London-based medical devices maker received a takeover bid last month from Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ). Johnson & Johnson's stock was off by 0.2% at $62.48.

BP's ( BP) stock was off by 2.1% at $45.13 after a pipeline leak forced the company to shut down 95% of production from North America's biggest field.

Shares of Sara Lee ( SLE) were up 4.1% to $18.15 during the premarket session on reports that Brazilian meat company JBS SA was weighing a revised bid for the U.S. branded food products company, according to Bloomberg. Last month, Sara Lee rejected a buyout offer from JBS.

In commodity markets, the February crude oil contract was trading 59 cents higher at $88.62 a barrel. The February gold contract was up by 80 cents to trade at $1,369.70 an ounce.

The dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index up by 0.07%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 6/32, lowering the yield to 3.305%.

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--Written by Melinda Peer in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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