U.S. stock-index futures decline amid concern over Europe crisis

U.S. stock-index futures fell this morning, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped the most since June yesterday, amid concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. dropped 1.1 percent as base metals retreated. Newmont Mining Corp. fell 1.1 percent as the company cut staff in Australia. Blyth Inc. tumbled 25 percent after its ViSalus business withdrew its filing for an initial public offering. RadioShack Corp. added 2 percent after the electronics retailer said its chief executive officer will step down.

S&P 500 futures expiring in December slid 0.2 percent to 1,434.5 at 9:15 a.m. in New York, after the benchmark gauge fell 1.1 percent yesterday. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 14 points today, or 0.1 percent, to 13,391.

“People are facing up to the macroeconomic background,” said Andreas Utermann, global chief investment officer at Allianz Global Investors, which oversees $360 billion, on Bloomberg Television in London. “There is a significant risk that the announcement of any quantitative easing, rather than reassure people, gets people to understand that central banks are desperate and that is a serious situation.”

Stocks worldwide fell as Germany, the Netherlands and Finland said late yesterday Spain should bear the cost of problems in their banks, with the European Stability Mechanism assuming only a limited burden in recapitalizations. The Bank of Spain said the economy kept falling at a “significant pace” in the third quarter.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index is down 1.5 percent, the most in two months, and the euro is trading near a two-week low as political uncertainty and weakening economic data in the currency bloc underscored the deepening impact of the sovereign- debt crisis.

Bond Buying

U.S. equity indexes fell yesterday from their highest levels in almost five years as Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said new bond buying announced by the Fed this month probably won’t boost growth or hiring. All 10 groups in the S&P 500 retreated.

The S&P 500 has erased almost all its gains since the Federal Open Market Committee said Sept. 13 that it will undertake a third round of quantitative easing by purchasing mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month until labor markets “improve substantially.” Policy makers are using unconventional tools to attack a jobless rate stuck above 8 percent since February 2009.

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow average are still near their all-time highs of October 2007 after both the Fed and the European Central Bank approved unlimited bond-buying programs. The Dow needs to rise 5.3 percent to reach its peak of 14,164.53, while the S&P 500 needs an increase of 8.6 percent to reach its record of 1,565.15.

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