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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures in the U.S. were signaling a lower Wall Street open Monday amid news the Dutch government was near collapse, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was close to defeat, and on a report of a bribery cover-up from Wal-Mart ( WMT) in Mexico.

Markets in England, France and Germany were falling more than 1%. Asian stocks finished with losses on a tepid manufacturing report from China.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.2% at 9,542.17. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.8%.


Socialist Francois Hollande bested incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of voting for French president.

The second round of voting is slated for May 6.

Hollande remains the favorite to become France's first socialist president since 1995.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has run on an anti-immigrant platform aimed largely at Muslims, garnered nearly one of every five votes.


The Dutch government was close to collapse on Monday, with the prime minister widely expected to resign after talks on an austerity package failed, The Associated Press reported.

Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party, the government's main ally in parliament, walked out of the talks designed to meet European Union budget deficit rules.

Without the Freedom Party, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's right wing coalition no longer commands a majority in parliament. Rutte is expected to resign when the meeting ends Monday afternoon, clearing the way for national elections later in 2012, the AP said.

The Dutch economy is in recession and it's expected to post a deficit of 4.6% in 2012, above the 3% mandated by European rules.


Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT) failed to notify law enforcement officials after its own investigators found evidence that millions of dollars in bribes had been paid in Mexico to build stores across the country, according to a report from The New York Times.

Late Sunday, the head of a watchdog group said Mexico should investigate the allegations of a vast bribery campaign by top executives of Wal-Mart's Mexican unit, The Associated Press reported.

Wal-Mart had no comment on any of the allegations, said a lawyer for Wal-Mart de Mexico.


Nestle will acquire Pfizer's ( PFE) infant nutrition business for $11.85 billion.

The deal was announced Monday.

Pfizer, the drugmaker, had put the unit up for sale in July. The company has been selling non-core operations as it focus on new drug development.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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