Stock futures point to lower Wall Street open

Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:18am EDT
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(Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a lower open for equities on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 falling 0.2 to 0.3 percent.

The U.S. Treasury Department issues its monthly budget for February at 1800 GMT. Economists forecast a $229.0 billion deficit, against a January budget deficit of $27.4 billion.

The Conference Board releases its employment trend index for February at 10.00 a.m. EDT. In January, the index read 105.8.

Federal prosecutors have nixed a tentative $1 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote), holding out for a bigger settlement with the drugmaker for alleged improper marketing of its Risperdal schizophrenia drug, the Wall Street Journal said.

A previously announced $25 billion settlement between five major banks accused of abusive mortgage practices will be filed in federal court on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group SA UHR.VX said on Monday Tiffany & Co (TIF.N: Quote) had served it with a 541.9 million franc ($590 million) counter-claim in a legal dispute with the U.S. jeweler over a severed cooperation agreement.

The World Trade Organization has broadly upheld a ruling that Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) took billions of dollars of unfair subsidies, breathing new life into an epic trade spat that has already faulted European aid to Airbus, people familiar with the matter said.

Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (ANTH.O: Quote) said it stopped a late-stage trial of its experimental lead drug to treat a heart disease due to lack of efficacy, sending its shares down 62 percent in aftermarket trade on Friday.

China's trade balance plunged $31.5 billion into the red in February as imports swamped exports to leave the largest deficit in at least a decade and fuel doubts about the extent to which frail foreign demand or seasonal distortion drove the drop.   Continued...

The Wall Street sign is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East