Futures edge lower, extending recent weakness
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock futures were lower on Monday, pointing to a continued downtrend on Wall Street as investors continued to question whether an interest rate increase could come sooner than previously expected.
* Major indexes fell sharply on Friday, with the S&P 500 suffering its biggest one-day loss in about two months after the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for February showed jobs growth that was much stronger than expected. That was seen as possibly putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to act soon, as the central bank said it would raise rates when the economy is strong enough to support it.
* While a stronger economy is better for stocks in the long run, investors are worried that if the Fed raises rates too soon, it could dampen growth in an economy that has been slow to recover.
* The S&P 500 has fallen for two straight weeks, but remains about 2 percent from its record closing high. The Dow is also near record levels, while the Nasdaq is 2.4 percent below its record close, which was hit in March 2000.
* Premarket volume was light, suggesting investors were reluctant to jump in at current levels. That could amplify market volatility, as could this week's economic data, including retail sales and consumer sentiment, which may provide further insight into the Fed's timing plans.
* Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) rose 1.1 percent to $128 in premarket trading. The company will be in particular focus on Monday amid its "Spring Forward" event. Investors are looking for details about its Apple Watch product.
* U.S. shares of BlackBerry BBRY.O fell 4.3 percent to $10.21 in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company to "sell," expecting the smartphone maker's losses to widen in 2016.
* Whiting Petroleum Corp WLL.N rose before the bell. Late Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was seeking a possible buyer, though a person familiar with the board's thinking told Reuters he was not aware of any such plan. Continued...