Stock Market Today: Stock Futures Lower Amid Global Uncertainties

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were trading lower Monday as the markets dealt with a number of uncertainties including the growth prognosis for China and the outlook on U.S. interest rates.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 2 points, or 7.49 points above fair value, to 16,904. S&P 500 futures were down 1.25 points, or 1.24 points below fair value, to 1,975.5. Nasdaq futures were down 0.5 points, or 1.82 points above fair value, to 4,061.5.

The S&P dove near session lows Friday to snap five consecutive weeks of gains, with the 10-year bond yield making a pronounced move as expectations about a Federal Reserve rate hike flared up following a strong U.S. retail sales report.

China's industrial output growth figures for August released over the weekend were sobering, slowing to a six-year low of 6.9% from 9% in July.

In Scotland, polls reportedly have been showing that the Sept. 18 vote on whether the company should break away from the United Kingdom will be a very close race. Concerns remain that a vote toward independence could set in motion additional economic stressors upon Europe.

A policy announcement from the Fed will be made on Wednesday, and could indicate that an interest rate hike will take place in the near future. With the economy continuing to perform well, there is a general expectation that the Federal Open Market Committee might drop the "considerable time" for low interest rates phrase from its statement to prepare the markets for a move toward policy normalization next year.

Last week's minor weakness may seem initially to indicate a downturn in momentum that signals the next four to six weeks might be a lot tougher than investors realize. However, many of the markets and other factors correlated with stocks turning lower still largely aren't indicating signs of weakness, according to Greywolf's chief technical analyst, Mark Newton.

Small-caps haven't underperformed dramatically of late and have held up relatively well despite a bit of churning in the last week, the analyst said. Junk bonds have begun to falter a bit, but spreads remain relatively tighter vs investment grade corporates despite signs of bottoming in some high-yield synthetic CDS spreads. Newton added that European equities maintain solid uptrends from early August. Also, the U.S. dollar, which early in the year sold off against the yen as stocks fell, currently is hitting the highest levels vs. yen since 2008. Finally, the Treasury yields' rally is now nearing key resistance, according to Newton.

The Empire State manufacturing index jumped to a higher-than-consensus 27.5 in September, the New York Fed reported before the market open. U.S. industrial production data for August is expected at 9:15 a.m.

In company headlines, Heineken (HKHHY) , the Dutch brewer, rejected a takeover bid from rival SABMiller (SBMRY) , saying that its controlling shareholder intended to "preserve the heritage and identity of Heineken as an independent company.

Danaher (DHR) said Monday it would buy Nobel Biocare (NBHGY) , the Swiss dental-implant maker, for about $2.2 billion, including debt.

Cognizant (CTSH) said that it's signed an agreement to buy health care IT provider TriZetto for $2.7 billion in cash. Cognizant said the acquisition will lead to more than $3 billion in combined health care revenue, serving nearly 245,000 health care providers. Cognizant gained 2.97% to $46.09 in premarket trading.

Alibaba is likely to raise the price range of its U.S. initial public offering because of buoyant demand for the deal, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo! YHOO, which has a 22% stake in the Chinese ecommerce giant and plans to sell 121.7 million shares in the upcoming IPO, was up 0.98% to $43.30.

The United States Oil Fund  (USO) was down 0.79% to $34.11and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.4% to $118.85.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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