Global stocks were set to retreat on Monday morning, at the unofficial start of the fourth-quarter earnings season and amid concerns that Portugal is being pressured to accept a financial bailout.
U.S. stock index futures were down with about an hour before markets open, suggesting that stocks will fall at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were down 42 points or 0.4 per cent. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were down 6 points or 0.5 per cent.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.5 per cent and Germany's DAX index was down 1 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 per cent in overnight trading.
A report from Germany suggested that Portugal is being pressured to accept a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund -- a long anticipated move (denied by Portugal and others) that indicates the contagion associated with the euro crisis is showing no signs of abating yet.
Meanwhile, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that global economic growth was set to increase, following a rise in its composite leading indicator.
In deal-making news, Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy Inc. announced an all-stock merger valued at $13.7-billion (U.S.). And in earnings news, Alcoa Inc. kicks off the unofficial start of the fourth-quarter earnings season in the United States, when it reports its results after markets close.