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US stock futures fall as commodities stumble

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower market open on Monday as inflation jitters kept investors cautious and sharp declines in commodity markets threatened to hurt energy and mining shares.

Wall Street took a tumble late last week as gold shot up to a 26-year high and the Federal Reserve kept mum about any possible pause in interest rate hikes. But on Monday gold and oil were down sharply overseas.

Airplane manufacturer Boeing Co. plans to pay 5 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department suit over procurement violations and avoid criminal charges, according to the Wall Street Journal's Web site on Monday. For details, see ID:nN15255412 ''It looks like we're in for a weak opening. Markets are trading in tandem -- overseas equities, gold, oil. The only market up right now is the dollar,'' said Peter Cardillo, chief market analyst and chief strategist at SW Bach and Co. ''The major theme of the week will be inflation data, and that's what the market is looking for.

So until then, the erosion of stock prices continues.'' Investors will get an indication of the pace of inflation on Tuesday when the government releases a report on producer prices.

S&P 500 futures were down 0.8 point, just below fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 8 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 6.5 points.

Discount retail chain Target Corp. is set to report earnings before the opening bell, while Agilent Technologies Inc., a maker of scientific testing equipment, is expected to report after the market's close.

U.S. crude oil fell more than 2 percent to .30 a barrel in electronic trading on Monday. Oil extended losses after reports signaled that recent price rises were hurting global fuel demand.

In economic data, the New York Federal Reserve Bank is set to release its manufacturing survey for May at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT).

The Treasury Department will release its monthly report on international investor appetite for U.S. securities at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT).

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average finished down 119.74 points, or 1.04 percent, at 11,380.99. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index .SPX> slid 14.68 points, or 1.12 percent, to end at 1,291.24.

The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC> dropped 28.92 points, or 1.27 percent, to close at 2,243.78.


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