Current Futures: Dow -78.00, S&P -9.10, NASDAQ -11.50

European markets are currently trading below the break-even line, while U.S. futures posted significant declines during the overnight session. Asian shares headed higher in the first part of the trading session, but after the mid-day break, the market shed the gains made earlier.

European markets opened lower, with the financials trading mixed in Germany, but posting significant gains on the U.K.’s Ftse. Most German stocks declined this morning, with Deutsche Post – the biggest European mail carrier – declining more than 8%, as the company was affected strongly by the economic slowdown. 

In the U.K., the financials again led the pack of gainers. RBS, Lloyds and RBS rose 6% on average, extending the gains seen over the last few days of trading. On the other hand, commodity stocks and companies that specialize in military equipment, such as Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems posted the biggest declines. “Later today, the U.K. government is likely to report the biggest deficit on record, so most likely the military will see its budget cut which will, in turn, affect its sub-contractors, “ Trade Team noted.

“Today, the market expects earnings from a number of U.S. corporations. It will be interesting to find out how these companies are behaving throughout the credit crisis. Today’s earnings reports are coming from Alcon, Apple, AT&T, MacDonald’s, Morgan Stanley, Snap-On, Boeing and Wells Fargo. In Europe, the food company Nestle and the beer-producer Heineken reported lower earnings as first quarter sales declined,” Trade Team said.

Overnight, the Nikkei added 15.97 points (0.18%) to 8,727.30. The Australian S&P/Asx fell 9.20 points (0.25%) to 3,668.20. The U.K. Ftse fell 9.24 points (0.23%) to 3,978.22, while the German Dax declined 16.02 points (0.36%) to 4,485.61.

Crude oil for May delivery was recently trading at $48.20 per barrel, down by $0.30.

Gold for May delivery was recently trading up by $4.30 to $887.10.