Stock futures pointed to sharp falls for equities on Monday after tumbling in the previous session following the resignation of a top official at the European Central Bank, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 down 1.6 to 1.9 percent.

The resignation of Juergen Stark from the ECB throws into question policymakers' ability to deal with Europe's debt crisis, a problem that could engulf a world economy already teetering on the brink of recession.

Greece on Sunday slapped a new tax on real estate to plug a 2011 budget hole, please international lenders and secure a key new loan tranche as concerns mounted in Europe over its euro zone membership.

International Monetary Fund resources could prove to be sorely lacking if global financial conditions worsen and more countries turn to the global lender for financial rescues, IMF staff said in an internal document.

Verizon Communications (VZ.N) has dashed the hopes of Vodafone (VOD.L) investors by ruling out a return to a recurring dividend from the two companies' U.S. mobile phone joint venture, called Verizon Wireless, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has quizzed Capital One Financial Corp (COF.N) to determine whether the proposed purchase of ING Groep NV's (ING.AS) U.S. online banking business would create a too big to fail institution, the Wall Street Journal said.

French group Technip (TECF.PA) is to buy U.S. underwater oil services specialist Global Industries (GLBL.O) for an agreed $937 million, to expand in the fast-growing underwater oil services sector.

U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc (WLP.N) and computer giant IBM (IBM.N) agreed to commercially use IBM's Watson technology that could help physicians identify best treatment options.

Shareholders in Britain's Autonomy (AUTN.L) are likely to snap up Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ.N) fully priced offer on Monday, as the chances of a competing bid for the enterprise search software firm recede. Inc (AMZN.O) is in talks with book publishers about launching a media library service similar to Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) for tablets and other digital books, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The U.S. Treasury is weighing a proposal to eliminate some, but not all, of the taxes on overseas profits of U.S.-based companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing two people familiar with the deliberations.

Resource-related stocks will be in focus as key base metals prices fell 1.2 to 2.0 percent and crude oil slipped 2.2. percent on growth concerns.

European shares dropped sharply on Monday, led by banking stocks on concerns that policy makers were not doing enough to come up with a permanent solution to the euro zone peripheral debt crisis as worries intensified that Greece could default. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 3.3 percent after dropping 2.6 percent on Friday.

Japan's Nikkei fell more than 2 percent on Monday to a fresh 2-1/2 year closing low.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)