5 Things You Need to Know Before the Stock Market Opens

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing lower, suggesting Wall Street would open to the downside on Monday after President Obama talked tough over Iran's nuclear program and as China lowered its growth target.

European shares were falling, while Asian stocks ended the trading session lower.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday includes factory orders for January at 10 a.m. EST; the consensus estimate is for a decline of 1.9%; and the Institute of Supply Management's services index for February at 10 a.m. ; the consensus estimate is at 56.0.

President Obama on Sunday said he wouldn't hesitate to attack Iran in order to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

But Obama also asked for time for diplomacy to work, saying "loose talk of war" was undermining international security, The Associated Press reported.

Premier Wen Jiabao set China's growth target for 2012 to 7.5%, down from the 8% it has stood at for years.

Wen emphasized boosting consumer demand, looking to wean the Chinese economy off its reliance on external demand and foreign capital, according to Reuters.

BP ( BP) reached a $7.8 billion settlement with the plaintiffs in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill case.

BP said the cost of the settlement will be paid from a $20 billion trust the company set up to cover claims related to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blowout and the resulting oil spill.

The oil leak was the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

American International Group ( AIG) is selling shares of its Asian unit, AIA Group, to raise about $6 billion to help it pay the U.S. government back for its bailout during the 2008 financial crisis.

AIG is looking to sell a "significant proportion" of its 33% stake in AIA Group, according to AIA, which is listed in Hong Kong.

The U.S. government owns 77% of AIG following the bailout of the giant insurer in 2008.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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