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Premarket: Europe unnerves investors Add to ...

U.S. stocks headed to a lower open, after holiday shoppers gave retailers a weekend of strong sales but investors remained concerned about the European debt crisis.



Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 21 points, or 0.1 percent, at 11,008. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures dipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,182. Nasdaq 100 index futures slipped 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,139.

The National Retail Federation, a U.S. trade group, estimated that 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the first weekend of the holiday season, up from 195 million last year. Online spending also rose more than 14 percent from Thanksgiving Day through Saturday, according to IBM's Coremetrics. A fuller picture on spending will come Thursday when retailers report their November sales figures.



Investors' enthusiasm about the start of the holiday shopping season was tempered by concerns about debt problems in Europe. There, stocks fell after the European Union signed an international agreement Sunday to provide nearly $90-billion (U.S.) in rescue loans for Ireland. Investors still harbour concerns about other European countries, including Portugal and Spain.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 1 percent. In Tokyo earlier, the Nikkei 225 average rose 1 percent.

Oil prices rose to near $85 a barrel. The euro fell to a fresh two-month low of $1.3181, as investors looked past the rescue package for Ireland to debt problems in other peripheral euro zone economies and sold the currency on any bounce. Gold eased below $1,360 an ounce to $1,359.59.

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