Asian Markets are set to open lower after U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lower for a third day, as European leaders sparred with Greece over a second rescue program.
The S&P500 fell 3.32 points, or 0.25%, to close at 1313.01 with financials leading the declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 6.74 points lower, or 0.05%, at 12653.70, while the Nasdaq also dropped 4.61 points or 0.16%.
Stocks cut most of their earlier losses, but still finished in negative territory as ongoing worries over the euro zone debt crisis kept investors from fully jumping in. EU leaders met in Brussels to sign off on a permanent rescue fund for the euro zone. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will be among them as negotiators in Greece race to secure a debt swap deal. A FT report said that Greece had angrily rejected a German proposal to create a European budget overseer to monitor the country's finances in return for a second bailout, further adding to investors' anxiety.
Greece's unresolved debt restructuring knocked the euro from a six-week high against the U.S. dollar and drove it to a 4-1/2-month low against the safe-haven Swiss franc. The euro did cut some of the earlier losses after European Union leaders reached an agreement on the introduction of a permanent euro zone financial bailout mechanism, with details to be worked out at a later date. It fell nearly 1%on the day to $1.31, having hit a six-week high of $1.3233 in early trade.
Oil declined as European leaders sparred with Greece over a second rescue program and U.S. consumer spending stalled, bolstering concern that economic growth and fuel demand will slow. Crude for March delivery fell 78 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $98.78 a barrel.
Gold declined from a seven-week high in New York as the dollar gained after Greece signalled opposition to economic oversight in exchange for aid, lowering demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. Gold futures for April delivery fell 0.1%to settle at $1,734.40 an ounce.
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