Stocks looked set to fall at the start of trading Monday, with the Treasury Department instructing Dow component General Motors to prepare a contingency plan for bankruptcy.
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The government is looking at a plan that would bring GM out of bankruptcy quickly, but GM CEO Fritz Henderson said the company can still survive without filing for protection, the New York Times reported.
GM's beaten-down shares fell more than 14 percent in premarket trading to $1.75
Meanwhile banks that are receiving money from the federal government are facing a probe from Congress about fees and interest rates they are charging customers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In deal news, Express Scripts will buy health insurer WellPoint's NextRx prescription business for $4.68 billion in a significant expansion for the large pharmacy benefit manager.
WellPoint shares gained nearly 8 percent premarket.
There are no major earnings scheduled to be released before the bell, but reporting season gets into full swing quickly. Several major companies, including Goldman Sachs , Google and Johnson & Johnson
, Google and Johnson & Johnson
weigh with quarterly results later this week.
Bank stocks were being traded actively premarket, with Citigroup gaining 4.6 percent but the rest of the sector mostly lower. Wells Fargo, which spiked last week after the company said its earnings would be higher than expected, gave back 3.7 percent premarket.
There are also no economic reports due today, though key inflation and housing numbers are due as the week progresses.
Asian market were mixed in thin trading earlier, with Tokyo closing lower but Hong Kong finishing higher. Markets in Europe were closed for the Easter Monday holiday.