Stock index futures traded lower, suggesting a weaker start for Wall Street later on Monday as worries linked to a global swine flu outbreak added to U.S. bank stress-test jitters.
The Obama administration is due to publicly release the bank stress-test results on May 4. But there are fears that some of the news could start trickling out this week, raising the specter of more stock market volatility.
Governments around the world moved on Monday to contain the spread of a possible swine flu outbreak, as a virus that has killed over 100 people in Mexico spread to the United States and elsewhere.
At 0835 GMT (4:35 a.m. EDT), Dow Jones futures were down 1.9 percent, S&P 500 futures fell 1.8 percent and Nasdaq futures traded 1.5 percent lower.
Europe's benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> was down 1.1 percent, weighed down by a 4.3 percent slide for the DJ Stoxx travel & leisure index <.SXTP>, which includes airlines.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index <.MIASJ0000PUS> fell 2.3 percent. Swine flu is ripping through the markets creating uncertainty in its wake ... the U.S. markets are sure to be heavily affected by this crisis, ETX Capital said in a note.
German bank Helaba saw 8,190 points as key resistance for Wall Street's blue-chip Dow Jones index <.DJI>, saying a break above that level this week could trigger further upward potential.
VERIZON, WHIRLPOOL, QUALCOMM
The Dow closed at 8,076.29 points on Friday.
Overall, the fundamental environment for stock markets has turned increasingly benign (but) the swine flu ... leads to uncertainty, Helaba said.
S&P 500 companies scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Monday include Verizon Communications Inc
Auto industry shares, notably General Motors Corp
Rival automaker Chrysler LLC showed signs of progress on Sunday with its unionized workers in its battle to stay alive with just days left to complete deals to slash labor and debt costs or face bankruptcy.
The U.S. economic data calendar has the Dallas Fed's Texas manufacturing index for April at 1430 GMT and the Chicago Fed's Midwest manufacturing index for March at 1600 GMT (12 p.m. EDT).
Last week, the Dow Jones fell 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 index <.SPX> shed 0.4 percent, both breaking a six-week winning streak. The Nasdaq <.IXIC> rose 1.3 percent to score its seventh straight weekly advance.
Credit Suisse downgraded its weighting on U.S. equities to benchmark.
The U.S. is now expensive on our regional scorecard, Credit Suisse said in a global equity strategy note, citing a 41 percent sector-adjusted price-to-earnings premium over Europe.
(Reporting by Peter Starck; Editing by Rupert Winchester)