US STOCKS-Syria tensions drag futures lower

Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:21am EDT

* NYSE, Nasdaq at odds over cause of last week's outage

* J.C.Penney shares drop as top shareholder exits investment

* Futures down: Dow 88 pts, S&P 12 pts, Nasdaq 28 pts

NEW YORK, Aug 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday on rising tension over a possible military response to a chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians last week.

* U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday laid the groundwork for possible action against the Syrian government, calling for accountability over what he called a "moral obscenity."

* Kerry's words triggered a flight to safety in financial markets, with U.S. stocks turning lower in the last hour of trading on Monday. Asian stocks fell overnight and European shares were sharply lower despite a 16-month high in a measure of German business sentiment.

* Gold prices hit an 11-week high and the yen rose as the geopolitical tension lured investors towards safe-haven buying.

* S&P 500 futures fell 12 points and were 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 fell 88 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 28 points.

* Five days after a glitch that paralyzed Nasdaq-listed stocks for three hours on all U.S. markets, Nasdaq OMX and NYSE Euronext have a different understanding of what happened in the period preceding and during the blackout, with each side blaming the other for the outage, according to sources.

* Shares of J.C.Penney fell 3 percent in premarket trading a day after hedge fund manager William Ackman, the biggest share holder, said he had sold his entire stake after his campaign to overhaul the retailer failed.

* Richard Schulze, the founder and largest shareholder of Best Buy, has informed the world's largest consumer electronics chain about his plan to start selling its stock starting this fall, according to a regulatory filing.

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