U.S. Futures Trading Significantly Lower

by: SA Editors

At 8:40 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: -6.60; 1,413.90
NASDAQ 100: -9.75; 1,800.75
Dow: -53.00; 12,430.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: -1.71%; 16,942.40 (-295.37)
HANG SENG: -1.66%; 19,568.34 (-329.74)
S&P/ASX 200: -1.23%; 5,520.90 (-68.80)
BSE SENSEX 30: -1.50%; 13,362.16 (-204.17)

FTSE 100: -0.51%; 6,164.60 (-31.50)
CAC 40: -0.56%; 5,501.91 (-31.12)
XETRA-DAX: -0.80%; 6,561.39 (-52.98)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: -1.10%; $55.03 (-$0.61)
Gold: -0.24%; $613.50 (-$1.50)
Natural Gas: +1.72%; $6.74 (+$0.11)
Silver: -0.36%; $12.55 (-$0.045)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Mizuho to Merge Brokerage Into Shinko, Surpass Nikko Cordial in Revenue Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:MFG), Japan's second-largest bank, agreed to take control of Shinko Securities Co. to create the nation's third-biggest brokerage.

China's 2006 Trade Surplus Widened to a Record $177.5 Billion, Xinhua Says China's trade surplus swelled 74 percent to a record $177.5 billion last year as exports surged, the government-controlled Xinhua News Agency said.

Asian Stocks Fall Most in Seven Weeks, Led by Inpex and BHP; Samsung Drops Asian stocks fell the most in seven weeks, led by Inpex Holdings Inc. and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) as oil traded near an 18-month low and zinc prices tumbled.

NYSE, Goldman, Softbank Purchase Stakes in India's National Stock Exchange NYSE Group Inc. (NYSE:NYX) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) led investors that agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd., tapping the world's second-fastest growing major economy.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Russia and Belarus Agree to End Dispute Over Oil Duties, Lukashenko Says Russia and Belarus agreed to end a dispute over oil duties that led to the closing of Russia's main export pipeline to Europe, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on his Web site.

European Stocks Fall, Led by Energy, Phone Companies; BP, OMV, Nokia Drop European stocks declined, led by energy and telecommunications companies, after oil dropped for a third day and Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) said it's close to making an acquisition of an Indian company worth an estimated $18 billion.

Vodafone Will Bid for India's Hutchison Essar in `a Few Weeks,' Sarin Says Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) Chief Executive Officer Arun Sarin said he will bid for India's Hutchison Essar Ltd. (HTX) early next month to gain a share of the world's fastest- growing mobile-phone market.

Allianz to Raise Private Equity Investments, Spend $1.3 Billion This Year Allianz SE (AZ), Europe's biggest insurer, plans to increase its private-equity investments this year following a failed bid for John Laing Plc in 2006.

U.K. Trade Gap Widens to Biggest in Six Months as November Imports Surged Britain's trade deficit widened to the most in six months in November as imports surged and the shortfall with nations outside Europe reached a record.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

U.S. Trade Deficit in November Narrowed to $58.2 Billion The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed for a third month as exports reached a record. The gap fell 1 percent to $58.2 billion, the smallest since July 2005, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The deficit with China shrank from a record.

US Airways Boosts Cash, Stock Offer for Delta Air Lines to $10.2 Billion US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) raised its hostile takeover bid for Delta Air Lines Inc. (DALRQ.PK) to $10.2 billion in cash and stock in a bid to sway the bankrupt carrier's creditors.

Kodak to Sell Health-Imaging Unit to Canada's Onex for Up to $2.55 Billion Eastman Kodak Co. (EK), the world's largest photography company, agreed to sell its health-care imaging unit to Onex Corp. for as much as $2.55 billion to help focus on its transition to digital products.

Alcoa Shares Climb After Profit Jumps, Signaling Higher Aluminum Demand Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), the world's biggest aluminum maker, rose after the company said fourth-quarter profit jumped 60 percent, signaling strengthening demand for the metal used in beverage cans and airplanes.

Trade Gap in U.S. Probably Widened in November as Retailers Stocked Up The U.S. trade deficit edged higher in November from a 14-month low as retailers stocked up on imported goods ahead of the holiday shopping season, economists said before a government report today.

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