Futures Point to Lower Start

U.S. stock futures edged lower on Monday, tracking European equities which slumped after Italy’s current Prime Minister, Mario Monti, widely regarded for his technocrat style of functioning,  announced to retire from his position, while uncertainty surrounding congressional negotiations concerning the issue of ‘fiscal cliff’ continue to keep investors in sidelines.

At last check, futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average Index inched down 0.08%; those on Nasdaq 100 Index fell 0.24% while futures on S&P 500 Index shed 0.28%.

Mario Monti, credited for bringing Italy’s massive fiscal deficit under control and reforming country’s rigid labor laws has decided to step down after the Parliament approves 2013 federal budget. With his departure, the country risks in plunging back to same conservative style of leadership as the upcoming elections in February and March could once again see some old-fashioned kind of politicians vying for the top-spot, including tainted ex-Premier, Silvio Berlusconi. Following the announcement, Italy’s benchmark Index tumbled over 3 %. The Pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.48%.

Meanwhile In the U.S., according to one congressional aide and officials at the Whitehouse,  President Obama held discussions with house speaker John Boehner at the Whitehouse on Sunday, to find ways through which both sides can avert the U.S. economy drifting towards the edge of ‘fiscal cliff’.

On economic data front, no major economic statistic is slated to be released on Monday. The Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day policy rate meeting on Wednesday.

World’s biggest burger seller, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is scheduled to report same-store-sales for November on Monday. Earlier in October, the Company had reported drop in same-store-sales, citing weakness in the demand.

According to Reuters, sources familiar with developments said that Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines  Inc. (NYSE: DAL) will agree to a joint venture on transatlantic flights once the U.S. carrier completes its deal to buy Singapore Airlines’ 49 percent stake in the British airline.




Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.