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Stock futures dip on Greece concerns, Yahoo rallies

Oct 3, 2011, 5:13 a.m.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 23, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures were modestly lower on Monday as concerns over Greece's teetering finances returned to the forefront and after equities ended their worst quarter since 2008.

Draft budget figures showed Greece would miss its deficit targets for both this year and next, which could force the country to seek more bailout funds. If it fails to get the financing, the government may be forced to default, an outcome that could accelerate a slide back into global recession.

"This news is disappointing but not surprising," said Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York. "While I think they will get additional help if needed, there remains a lot of uncertainty over how much more money could be provided as well as the framework for a possible deal."

S&P 500 futures fell 1.4 points and were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dropped 31 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures took off 11.25 points.

European shares were down 1.5 percent early Monday while Morgan Stanley, which has exposure to European banks, lost 1 percent to $13.38 in premarket trading.

Gold, viewed as a hedge in times of risk, climbed 2 percent, rising for a third day.

Concerns over sovereign debt problems in the euro zone have pressured U.S. equities recently, and contributed to Wall Street's worst quarter since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.

The S&P 500 index lost more than 14 percent last quarter and over 7 percent in September alone.

Pursche said that given recent losses, equities may not see the same kind of dramatic selloff that previous setbacks regarding Europe caused.

"We believe the selloff is overdone," he said. "Having said that, investors need to stay careful. There's still so much risk that even though financial stocks are cheap, for example, they still have room to fall."

Yahoo Inc rose 5.4 percent to $13.88 in premarket trading. The founder and chief executive of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba , said Friday he was keen to buy the company and has talked with other potential buyers about options.

Investors looked ahead to September data on manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management, seen coming in at 50.5, versus 50.6 last month. The data is due at 10 a.m. EDT. September vehicle sales are also on tap.

On the upside, Eastman Kodak surged 39 percent to $1.08 premarket after losing half their value on Friday. The photography company has hired a law firm specializing in bankruptcy, triggering speculation it could file. Kodak denied it has a bankruptcy plan.

U.S. stocks fell more than 2 percent on Friday as weak economic data from China sparked fears of a global economic slowdown while Morgan Stanley plummeted on concerns about its exposure to European banks.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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