Index futures fall; Japan disaster monitored

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stock index futures fell on Monday as investors worried about the impact of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

* A second hydrogen explosion rocked a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan, sending authorities scrambling to avert a meltdown.

* Japanese stocks fell 6.2 percent as investors expected the disaster to take an economic toll. Trading in other markets was cautious but steady. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> fell 0.5 percent.

The earthquake could have great implications on the global economic front, said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York. If you shut down Japan, there could be a global recession.

* S&P 500 futures lost 7.5 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 63 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 13.50 points.

* General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said it was too early to measure the impact the nuclear power crisis in Japan would have on the industry. GE combined its nuclear ventures with Hitachi Ltd <6501.T> of Japan on expectations of a sector renaissance. GE shares fell 2.3 percent premarket.

* The Market Vectors uranium and nuclear energy exchange traded fund fell 4 percent in premarket trade.

* Japanese ports handling as much as 7 percent of the country's industrial output sustained major damage, disrupting global supply chains and causing billions of dollars in losses, industry officials said.

* Japanese shares traded in New York also fell. Toyota Motor Co <7203.T>, which said it would suspend production at all its Japanese car plants, dropped 6 percent. The iShares MSCI Japan index exchange traded fund fell 6.8 percent.

* Brent crude touched a two-week low near $112, down 1.5 percent on concerns economic growth would slow after Japan's disaster, while easing unrest in the Middle East threw the focus back onto ample oil supplies.

* U.S. stocks closed the week on a high note Friday on relief that unrest did not spread to top oil producer Saudi Arabia, calming worries the market was entering a near-term slide.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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