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Futures Point Down on March Lows Anniversary

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open for Wall Street Tuesday, a year after hitting their lowest levels since the beginning of the financial turmoil.

Since March 9, 2009, the Dow is up 59 percent, the S&P rose 67 percent and the NASDAQ gained more than 80 percent.

In company news, Merck and Sanofi Aventis have agreed to a joint venture to develop animal health products. The equally split joint venture is expected to be the lead the $19 billion industry in market share.

Sanofi shares edged lower in premarket trading.

Aetna shares gained 1 percent premarket after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch upgraded the company to "neutral" from "underperform," saying it was "positioned for favorable development."

European shares fell for the second straight day, with financials and miners dropping, while Asian markets closed mixed.

With no economic data to be released in the U.S. before the bell, investors will likely focus on news from abroad to weigh up the trading day.

China's chief currency regulator reiterated the country's commitment to U.S. Treasurys for its foreign exchange reserves, adding that China is not into short-term currency market speculation. He also said that it was "impossible" for gold to become a major investment channel for the country's foreign exchange reserves.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is due to meet President Barack Obama later Tuesday, and he is likely to press the U.S. to regulate hedge funds, which Greece says had an important role in its debt problems.

Fitch issued a report about sovereign ratings in Europe in which it warned that Britain's credit profile has deteriorated, pushing the pound to a 1-week low against the dollar.

A report by Manpower showed that the outlook for U.S. hiring is dipping in the coming quarter, casting a shadow over hopes for a recovery in jobs.

In corporate news, the world's second-largest insurance broker Marsh & McLennan is selling its security consulting business Kroll for $1.3 billion, according to a report in the Financial Times. The paper said the company received several offers.

Cisco said it would make an announcement that would change the internet later Tuesday.

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