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Bonds News

U.S. stock futures signal losses on automaker woes

* U.S. stock futures down 2.2-2.6 pct

* GM stock traded in Frankfurt down 16 percent

* Shares in Asian, European automakers sink

PARIS, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to losses on Monday on worries over the troubled auto sector after Washington's rejection of viability plans from General Motors GM.N and Chrysler.

At 0848 GMT, futures for the S&P 500 SPc1 were down 2.7 percent, Dow Jones DJc1 futures were down 2.2 percent and Nasdaq 100 NDc1 futures were down 2.5 percent.

The Obama administration autos task force rejected the turnaround plans of General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC, forcing out GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner, and warned both could be put through bankruptcy to slash debts. [ID:nN29520526]

Shares in GM traded in Frankfurt GM.F were down 16 percent.

The news weighed on auto stocks around the world, with Nissan Motor 7201.T and Toyota Motor 7203.T losing 7.7 percent and 3.7 percent respectively in Tokyo.

In Europe, Daimler DAIGn.DE, which has a stake in Chrysler, was down 7.2 percent, Fiat FIA.MI was down 6.4 percent and BMW BMWG.DE down 6.8 percent.

Japan's Nikkei stock average .N225 fell 4.5 percent and the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was down 3 percent in early trade, also hit by renewed fears over the banking sector after Spain announced it would bail out embattled regional savings bank Caja Castilla la Mancha.

“The spectre of the bankruptcy of either GM or Chrysler is enough to prompt investors to book profits after the sharp gains we’ve seen recently. But I don’t think Washington will let the automakers fail,” said Christian Jimenez, president of Imene Investment partners, in Paris.

“The bailout of a bank in Spain is also a strong reminder that there are still toxic assets in the pipeline and that the credit crisis is not over yet,” he said.

On the positive side, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview published on Sunday that he saw “glimmers of stabilization” in some areas of the U.S. economy, including pockets of the domestic housing market.

U.S. shares lost ground on Friday, as investors pocketed recent gains and bank stocks fell after bank executives indicated March had been a tougher month for the industry than the previous two.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 148.38 points, or 1.87 percent, to 7,776.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX shed 16.92 points, or 2.03 percent, to 815.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC slid 41.80 points, or 2.63 percent, to 1,545.20.

The S&P 500 is down 9.7 percent in 2009, but has gained 22.4 percent since reaching a floor in early March. (Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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