Monday, Aug 20, 2012
--Stock futures turn mostly lower after ECB damps hopes of bond buying plans
--ECB says report that it was considering intervening in debt markets was "misleading"
--Aetna agrees to buy Coventry Health Care for $5.7 billion
By Tomi Kilgore
NEW YORK--Most U.S. stock futures slipped, erasing earlier gains, after the euro zone's central bank damped hopes that it may be considering moves to stabilize troubled sovereign debt markets.
Less than 90 minutes ahead of the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gave up 22 points, or 0.2%, to 13225.
Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures eased one point, or 0.1%, to 1414 while Nasdaq 100 futures inched up two points, or 0.1%, to 2778. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.
There are no major economic data points scheduled for release Monday.
In corporate news, shares of Coventry Health Care surged 18% in premarket trading after the company agreed to be acquired by Aetna in a deal valued at $5.7 billion in cash and stock. Aetna tacked on 2.8%.
European markets slipped, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.2%, after the European Central Bank said a report in German news magazine Der Spiegel over the weekend that the central bank was considering intervening in sovereign debt markets was "absolutely misleading."
Spain's IBEX-35 stock index, which had gained earlier on the Der Spiegel report, was down 0.4%.
Asian markets were mixed. China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.4% after data showing average housing prices rose in July, fueling worries that China will continue with property tightening measures. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.1% to a 3 1/2-month high.
Crude oil futures ticked up 0.1% to $96.14 a barrel, while gold futures added less than 0.1% to $1,617 an ounce. The dollar rose slightly against the euro but lost ground against the yen.
In other corporate news, Best Buy fell 4.3% after the founder and largest shareholder of the consumer electronics retailer said he was "disappointed and surprised" that his offer to take the company private was rejected. Separately, Best Buy appointed Hubert Joly to be its new chief executive. Joly was formerly the CEO of hospitality and restaurant company Carlson.
Lowe's dropped 8.5% after the home improvement retailer reported fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue that fell short of analyst estimates as provided by FactSet and provided a downbeat outlook for the full year.
Groupon lost 1.7% after The Wall Street Journal reported at least four early investors in the daily-deals company have sold or significantly pared their holdings in recent months.
Facebook edged up 0.6%. The stock fell 10% over the previous two sessions to close at a new low after lockup agreements expired, making some 271 million additional Facebook shares eligible for sale.
Write to Tomi Kilgore at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 20, 2012 08:16 ET (12:16 GMT)