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Premarket: CIT grabs Thain Add to ...

Global stock market indexes looked relatively unchanged on Monday morning, a shift from the dramatic ups and downs seen throughout most of last week, even though some of the concerns facing investors last week have yet to be addressed.

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher with about an hour before markets open, suggesting that the stocks will start the day relatively unchanged. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were up 6 points. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were up 1 point.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index was up 0.5 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.1 per cent in overnight trading.

Many investors have been rattled by troubling budget deficits in Portugal, Spain and Greece, which threaten to create a debt crisis that could ensnare other countries if governments default on bond payments. However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may have delivered some calm to markets by saying in a television interview that the U.S. AAA bond rating - a source of uncertainty given the massive budget deficits in the country- will never be lost.

Meanwhile, CIT Group Inc. named John Thain as its new chief executive. Mr. Thain is the former head of Merrill Lynch & Co., suggesting that perhaps Wall Street isn't going to get that extensive makeover after all. Not that investors are complaining: CIT shares were up 3.3 per cent on the news of the appointment.

As well, Home Depot Inc. rose 1.5 per cent after the stock was upgrade to "overweight" from "market weight" by Morgan Stanley.

Finally, commodities were mixed, suggesting they will won't be much of a headwind for the commodity-heavy S&P/TSX composite index. Crude oil rose 28 cents, to $71.47 (U.S.) a barrel. Gold fell $2, to $1065 an ounce.

 

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