NEW YORK – U.S. stock futures edged slightly lower Monday, amid a downgrade of Dow industrials component International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), record gold prices and the hospitalization of Vice President Dick Cheney.
S&P 500 futures recently were down 1.1 points at 1,290.70, Nasdaq 100 futures were steady at 1,748.0 and Dow industrials futures dipped 9 points.
On Friday, hopes that the Federal Reserve wouldn't find inflationary signs from weaker-than-forecast payrolls growth lifted Dow industrials 77.2 points at 10,959, the Nasdaq Composite up 28.8 points at 2,305 and the S&P 500 up nearly 12 points at 1,285.
The impact from the jobs data continued to resonate on Monday, when the dollar reached lows against the yen not seen since late October, with the greenback worth as low as 113.75 yen, and spot gold hit a 25-year high in Asian trade overnight at $544.30 an ounce.
News that Cheney was admitted to a U.S. hospital for shortness of breath didn't have much of an initial impact on currencies or stock market futures.
Front-month crude oil futures rose 24 cents at $64.45 a barrel.
Overseas, European stock markets built on multi-year highs, with automaker DaimlerChrysler AG rising on a report it hired Goldman Sachs to field offers for its loss-making Smart car division, while markets in Tokyo were closed for a holiday.
Back in the U.S., there were some broker calls on prominent companies, including IBM, which was downgraded to neutral from overweight at J.P. Morgan, with the broker citing risks in services and hardware.
The same brokerage also downgraded Amazon.com Inc. to underweight from neutral, citing concerns that U.S. growth will continue to be below that of the broader electronic commerce market.
But on the plus side, Prudential Equity Group upgraded Merrill Lynch & Co. to overweight from neutral weight on increased capital markets activity and revenue growth prospects.
Boston Scientific also said it would sell Guidant's vascular intervention and endovascular businesses to fellow medical device maker Abbott Laboratories Inc. for $4.3 billion.
Tyco International Ltd. (TYC) is considering a plan that would split off from the $60 billion conglomerate both its electronics and health-care businesses in tax-free transactions, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing anonymous sources. Edward D. Breen, the conglomerate's current chief executive, would run a slimmed-down version of Tyco - consisting of its security, fire-protection, pump and valve operations, the report said. It can take many months to get legal and financial details ironed out, the report added.
Also, Duke Energy Corp. is reportedly near a deal to sell part of its North American power generation operation to investment firm LS Power for $1.5 billion.Click here to visit our Investing page.