U.S. stocks face uncertain start

@CNNMoneyInvest June 18, 2012: 9:01 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. investors watched Europe's continued troubles Monday, as an election in Greece was unable to provide a sustained lift for markets overseas.

U.S. markets appeared headed for choppy trading as futures for the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) were moving from slightly negative to slightly positive and back throughout the morning. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The win in Sunday's Greek vote by the New Democracy party -- which supports the European bailout -- was a positive for investors. There were worries that a victory by austerity opponents would lead to a Greek debt default and a potential breaking up of the eurozone.

But the Greek vote did little to solve mounting problems in Spain. While the election lifted markets in Asia, a rally in European stocks proved short-lived, and rising bond yields in Spain and elsewhere across Europe reflected the growing concern.

World markets: In Asia, the major indexes held most of their early gains to finish higher. Japan's Nikkei (N225) ended up 1.8%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong rose 1%, and the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) gained 0.4%.

But while European markets opened with solid gains, they soon pulled back. London's FTSE 100 (UKX) and Paris CAC 40 (CAC40) both swung between slight gains and slight losses. The FTSE was up 0.2%, but the CAC was little changed. Only Frankfurt's DAX (DAX) remained in positive territory throughout the early trading day, rising 0.3%, although that was well off it's high of the day.

The Greece's Athex composite index jumped nearly 5% on the election results there, as did shares of the National Bank of Greece (NBG) in premarket U.S. trading.

But Spain's IBEX 35 index slipped 1.4%. It was led lower by leading bank stocks, an indication of investors' focus on Spanish problems.

Yields on bond debt across the continent rose, led by Spain's 10-year yield touching a euro-era record high of 7.14%. Any reading above 7% is seen as a warning sign that a nation will need a bailout by other countries in the eurozone. Yields on Italian 10-year bonds also moved above the 6% mark.

Shares of Banco Santander (SAN) and BBVA (BBVA), Spain's two largest banks, were down more than 3% in both in U.S. premarket trading as well as in Madrid.

"The news out of Greece was comforting, but the rates going through the roof again in Spain and Italy are overshadowing the news out of Greece," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. He said he believed U.S. markets were likely to continue to focus on news out of Europe, at least until the meeting of the Federal Reserve concludes Wednesday.

While Spain has requested help with a €100 billion bank bailout of its banking sector, it has yet to request a bailout for its own sovereign debt. But the higher yields could raise borrowing costs so high that it could be forced to do so.

U.S. stocks rose Friday as investors maneuvered ahead of the Greek elections. The Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all ended higher, putting a bow on a weekly increase for all three indexes.

Economy: Greece will be front and center as world leaders meet in Mexico on Monday for the Group of 20 summit. Analysts are expecting a lot of talk but not a lot of action.

In the United States, the Supreme Court could hand down a ruling as early as Monday on the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administation's health care reform legislation.

While the court is focused primarily on the law's individual mandate provision, which requires most Americans to buy health insurance or face financial penalty, the justices could strike down the entire legislation.

Large insurers such as UnitedHealth Group (UNH, Fortune 500), WellPoint (WLP, Fortune 500) and Aetna (AET, Fortune 500) will be affected by a decision on the law.

Companies: Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) is expected to announce some news related to its own tablet computer Monday at an event in Los Angeles. Shares of Microsoft, which rose 2.3% in Friday trading, edged up 0.4% in premarket trading early Monday.

Shares of footwear retailer DSW (DSW) plunged 13% in premarket trading Monday after it warned that its fiscal second quarter earnings would come in at 60 to 64 cents a share, far below its previous guidance and a consensus forecast of 76 cents a share.

Shares of Facebook (FB) spiked 6% Friday, giving the company a second-straight day of gains -- something that has happened only twice since its IPO on May 18. But shares were down 0.5% from those levels in premarket trading. An article in Monday's Wall Street Journal said decisions by Facebook lead underwriter Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) were responsible for many of the problems with the Facebook IPO.

Morgan Stanley was down 1.7% following that report, along with the uncertainties in Europes. But it could be a difficult day for major financial stocks, The nation's largest banks, JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), were all 0.9% or more lower in premarket trading, and investment bank Goldman Sach was off 0.1% on the uncertainty in Europe.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was little changed against the euro, and higher versus the British pound and Japanese yen.

Oil for July delivery fell 82 cents to $83.21 a barrel.

Gold futures for August delivery fell $6.60 to $1,621.50 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose slightly, pushing the yield down to 1.56% from at the 1.57% level reached late Friday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,804.71 -238.19 -1.40%
Nasdaq 4,422.09 -71.31 -1.59%
S&P 500 1,946.16 -26.13 -1.32%
Treasuries 2.40 -0.10 -4.19%
Data as of 2:53am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.82 -0.23 -1.35%
Ford Motor Co 14.59 -0.20 -1.34%
Facebook Inc 76.55 -2.49 -3.15%
Apple Inc 99.18 -1.57 -1.56%
Cisco Systems Inc 25.03 -0.18 -0.72%
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