Current Futures: Dow -88.00, S&P -9.80, NASDAQ -10.80
European Trade: European markets opened lower again, following the declines seen in the Asian equity markets. U.S. futures were also sent lower overnight, extending the ongoing slump the major U.S. indexes are currently in.

The major European indexes moved lower from the opening bell. However, some companies listed on the German Dax posted some strong gains this morning. One of those companies was Adidas, which rose 3.60% as Bank of America posted a buy recommendation. At the same time, Deutsche Bank rose 3.50%, after the company booked trading profits for the second consecutive month in February.

Slowly but surely, the U.K. government is getting closer to nationalizing major banks. The latest on the list is Lloyds, which is preparing to give a 75% stake to the U.K. authorities. Lloyds is the fourth bank that reached out to the Treasury for help, after Northern Rock, HBOS and RBS.

Lloyds agreed with the U.K. Treasury to underwrite 260 billion pounds ($370 billion) of toxic-debt. The bank would pay a 5% premium for this operation to happen, which means the Treasury would receive 15.6 billion pounds. The two institutions agreed to pay this sum in the form of non-voting shares, something that would lift the Treasury’s stake to 75% of Lloyds. Consequently, Lloyd’s tier 1 capital ratio would reach 14.5%.

Also in the U.K., HSBC, the largest European bank, continues to tumble as the bank tries to raise $17.6 billion to cover the losses from the U.S. market. HSBC’s exposure to the U.S. housing market comes from Household International, an Illinois based bank bought in 2003.

On the U.K.’s Ftse, both Lloyds and HSBC dropped 11% in the first minutes of trading. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tullow Oil rose almost 9%, as the company found new oil reserves near Ghana. The company has also managed to raise $2 billion from private investors.

Tonight, the Nikkei fell 87.07 points (1.21%) to 7,086.19. The Australian S&P gained 9.00 points (0.29%) to 3,154.50. The U.K. Ftse fell 31.91 points (0.90%) to 3,498.82, while the German Dax shed 15.24 points (0.43%) to 3,651.17

Crude oil advanced, as OPEC is preparing to cut production again. Crude oil for April delivery added $0.55 to $46.05

Gold shed some of the gains from the last two days of trading. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $5.50 to $937.50.