U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply lower open Monday following the first round of presidential elections in France and as the Netherlands teetered on the brink of political and economic crisis over concerns about its national debt.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy finished second in the first round of elections in France on Sunday, compared with his main rival, Socialist leader Francois Hollande. It is the first time an incumbent French president has come in second in the first-round vote in the present electoral system’s 54-year history. The second round will be held in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands was drawn into Europe's debt crisis over the weekend when the government failed to agree on budget cuts, making elections almost unavoidable and casting doubt on its support for future euro zone measures.
AndGermany's manufacturing sector unexpectedly declined at the fastest pace in nearly three years in April, denting hopes that it can drive growth in the euro zone and casting a shadow over upbeat business sentiment surveys.
European shares slumped as political tensions in Europe and mixed economic data from Chinaprompted declines in banking and basic resource stocks.
China's factories posted their best performance this year as a measure of new business rose from multi-month lows, a private sector purchasing managers survey showed, though overall activity still contracted for a sixth successive month.
Wal-Mart plunged as the big-box retailer faces scrutiny regarding bribery allegationsin Mexico. The company could see years of regulatory scrutiny and some executives could eventually lose their jobs after the New York Times reported that the company stymied an internal investigation into extensive bribery at its Mexican subsidiary.
Still, Citigroup raised its price target on the retail giant to $71 from $69 a share.
Kellogg's rattled the market after the breakfast food and snack company warned that its full-year performancewould be lower due to disappointing first-quarter performance.
Financial leaders from around the world, who wrapped up talks in Washington over the weekend, agreed to provide the IMF with a further $430 billion to safeguard economies from the euro zone debt crisis.
On the M&A front, Nestle will acquire U.S. drugmaker Pfizer's infant nutrition business for $11.85 billion, beating out French rival Danone.