U.S. stock index futures backed off earlier gains and were indicating a flat open as analysts said Ireland's credit would receive a "multi-notch" downgrade despite promises of a European Union bailout.
The E.U. and International Monetary Fund hammered out the details of a bailout for the Irish economy but concerns over the state of other periphery euro zone countries persisted. News that Ireland's Green Party may call for elections in January, disrupting Ireland's government coaltion, added to market jitters.
European shares were higher on news of Ireland's 3-year debt deal, which was agreed over the weekend, with banking stocks leading the gains. Asian markets were mixed, but mostly higher. Chinese and Japanese indexes made firm gains.
The dollar was lower against the euro and yen , which gave a boost to the price of oil and gold.
In other news, Federal authorities could be in the brink of launching a batch of insider-trading cases against the hedge-fund industry, consultants, and Wall Street banks, sources familiar with the situation confirmed with Reuters.
And the introduction of new Basel III global banking regulations could cause a shortfall of between $100 billion and $150 billion in the top 35 U.S. banks, according to Barclays Capital.
On the earnings front, Tyson Foods will be among the handful of companies reporting earnings before the opening bell, while Hewlett-Packard will issue results after the close.
The Treasury will sell $99 billion in note auctions over three days, beginning with a $35 billion auction of 2-year notes today. The results will be available after 1 p.m.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters soared in the pre-market, after news the coffee company restatement of earnings to correct for accounting errors wasn't as bad as initlaly thought.
On Tap Next Week:
MONDAY: 2-yr note auction, Minnesota Fed Pres Kocherlakota speaks; Earnings from Hewlett-Packard
TUESDAY: GDP, corporate profits, existing home sales, 5-yr note auction, FOMC minutes, FDIC quarterly report on bank earnings; Earnings from Campbell Soup and Medtronic
WEDNESDAY: MBA mortgage apps, durable goods orders, personal income and spending, jobless claims, consumer sentiment, new home sales, oil inventories, 7-yr note auction; Earnings from Deere and Tiffany
THURSDAY: Thanksgiving Holiday — All markets closed
FRIDAY: Black Friday — NYSE early close
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