Markets & Stocks
Stock selloff looms
U.S. markets to reflect global jitteriness after key Iraqi official killed by car bomb.
May 17, 2004: 8:45 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - U.S. stocks appear headed for a sharp opening selloff Monday, as the assassination of the Iraqi Governing Council chief helped send oil prices to record highs and overseas stocks sharply lower.

For details of last Friday's session, click above

Early Monday, S&P and Nasdaq futures were sharply lower following news of the suicide car bomb that killed Izzedine Salim. Salim was reportedly on his way to Baghdad's Green Zone, where coalition headquarters are located. Five other Iraqis were also killed in the attack, and six Iraqis and two Americans were wounded.

Asian-Pacific stocks ended sharply lower, with Tokyo's Nikkei index down 3.2 percent. Shares in Bombay fell 11 percent as Prime Minister-elect Sonia Gandhi prepared to take power in India without help from some leftist groups.

Oil prices reflected the global insecurity. U.S. light crude futures reached a record-high $41.83 a barrel before easing back to $41.64, 28 cents higher than Friday's close. Brent oil futures rose 32 cents to $38.18 a barrel in London.

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The Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq composite index ended lower last week for the third week in a row; the Dow's 2-point gain Friday couldn't do much to prevent a 1 percent slide for the week, while the Nasdaq's nearly 22-point loss pushed it into the red for the week by 0.7 percent (see chart for details).

European markets started Monday with solid losses. (Check the latest on world markets)

Treasury prices rose in early trading, sending the 10-year note yield down to 4.75 percent from 4.77 percent late Friday. The dollar stumbled against the yen and euro.

In the only economic report Monday is the Empire State Index, the measure of manufacturing activity from the Federal Reserve of New York, fell to 30.2 in May from a revised 34.0 reading in April Economists surveyed by forecast that index would slip to 34.8 from the original 36.1 reading in April.

In corporate news, Oracle (ORCL: Research, Estimates) said late Friday that it cut its cash tender offer to acquire PeopleSoft (PSFT: Research, Estimates) to $21 a share from $26. PeopleSoft's board has continually rejected earlier offers.

Also late Friday, insurer MetLife (MET: Research, Estimates) said its General American Life Insurance unit received a notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission indicating the commission staff may urge an enforcement action alleging securities law violations.

Tyco International (TYC: Research, Estimates) said the Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed current and former employees to testify about past accounting practices at its ADT security alarm unit. The disclosure was made in its 10-Q quarterly earnings report late Friday.

Fiscal first-quarter earnings reports were released early Monday from two retailers -- home improvement retailer Lowe's and speciality retailer Limited Brands -- and were due before the market opened from toy retailer Toys R Us.

Lowe's (LOW: Research, Estimates) earned net income of $455 million, or 57 cents a share, up from 53 cents a share a year earlier and topping the 54-cent consensus analysts' forecast from earnings tracker First Call. Limited's (LTD: Research, Estimates) earned $67.8 million, or 13 cents a share, excluding special items, up from 9 cents a share on that basis a year earlier and in line with First Call's forecast.

Toys R Us (TOY: Research, Estimates) is forecast to trim losses per share to 1 cent from 3 cents a year earlier.  Top of page

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