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Futures Fall on China Rift; Lehman Recalled

Stock index futures were pointing to a lower opening for Wall Street as investors worried over a trade dispute between the US and China and reflected on the one-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

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  • President Obama on Friday announced tariffs against tires from China, which followed up Monday by asking the World Trade Organization to intervene.

    The tariffs came on the heels of a union complaint that a surge of imports of the Chinese tires were taking away American jobs.

    Oil prices fell as the dollar, which has hit a succession of 12-month lows in recent days, firmed a bit. US light, sweet crude dropped below $69 a barrel.

    Meanwhile, the anniversary of the collapse of Wall Street titan Lehman Brothers brought back memories of the financial crisis and raised fresh doubts over the recovery.

    Market watchers around the world weighed in with their observations about the Lehman collapse and the following financial crisis, including legendary investor and CEO of Rogers Holdings, Jim Rogers.

    When Lehman went bankrupt, "I thought thank goodness they're finally letting somebody collapse," Rogers told CNBC.

    He said that “when somebody fails, you let them fail,” and that former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson “should have let ten people go bankrupt.”

    On the plus side, shares of Sprint Nextel jumped more than 11 percent in premarket trading on a report in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that Deutsche Telekom was considering making a bidfor the phone carrier. Telekom shares fell about 1.5 percent premarket.

    Fallout also continued from Kraft's failed bid for Cadbury, which released a letter detailing why it turned down the offer. Cadbury said the offer from Kraft failed to reflect the company's true value, and also said Kraft's low-growth conglomerate business model didn't fit in with Cadbury's strategy. Shares of Kraft edged higher while Cadbury dipped about 0.5 percent premarket.

    Salix Pharmaceuticals said its drug Rifaximin had met the main goals of late-stage studies for irritable bowel syndrome. Shares surged more than 35 percent premarket.

    President Barack Obama will use the anniversary to bolster his calls for stricter oversight for the financial sector when he speaks at 12:10 pm New York time. Obama is also expected to lay out his plans for unwinding the government’s back-stops for the sector.

    Also taking to the stage is Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker at 12:30 pm and San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen at 3:50 pm.

    Asian stocks close broadly lower, but the Shanghai Composite Index managed to end higher. European stocks were lower with banking and commodity stocks leading the losses.