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19-year low on Nikkei sends U.S. stock futures skidding

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U.S. investors are looking at a lower open on the heels of overseas trading that saw Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closing at a 19-year low after key economic data revealed a decline a corporate spending and a slowdown in exports.

London's FTSE 100 is down 1.46% at 4,025 following disappointing interim results from Cable & Wireless and a profits warning from steel maker Corus. Other European markets have France's CAC 40 falling 1.73%, Germany's DAX -2.7% and Switzerland's Swiss Market off 1.11%.

Dow component Citigroup (NYSE:C) $36.39 is sliding $1.14, or 3.1 percent, to $35.25 over Redibook after the Wall Street Journal reported that Jack Grubman, a former analyst at Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney, indicated in a series of emails that chief executive Sanford Weill pushed him to review the ratings of AT&T stock, because Weill wanted to gain support from AT&T CEO Michael Armstrong to help push out former Citigroup co-chairman John Reed in early-2000.

Responding to the report, Weill said in a press release, "Today, we learned that a number of false and inflammatory emails that we provided to regulators have become public. The regulators have already received unequivocal sworn testimony from the author of the emails that they are fabrications with zero basis in reality."

Elsewhere, Dow component IBM (NYSE:IBM) $79.15 rose 35 cents to $79.50 over the Redibook ECN on a Wall Street Journal report that said the company was negotiating a 7-year, $5 billion deal to handle computing operations for such areas as retail banking, mortgages and trading for J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).

The report said Electronic Data Systems (NYSE:EDS) $14.19 had also been competing for the deal, but J.P. Morgan was concerned about the company's finances after it slashed earnings estimates in September.

Among other early movers, Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) fell 73 cents to $20.80 over Redibook, after the drug maker disclosed that it was served with two grand jury subpoenas by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts for information concerning sales, marketing and clinical trial practices related to its Intron A, Rebetron and Temodar products.

Dow component Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) $53.85 eased lower by 39 cents to $53.46 after the retailing giant reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, topping Wall Street estimates by a penny.

S&P futures (sp02z) currently trade lower by 4.8 points at 880, while NASDAQ futures (nd02z) are off 8.5 points at 996 and Dow futures (dj02z) are lower by 47 points at 8,350.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.20. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.00 and set for program selling at $-1.92. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $1.85.

Jeff Bailey

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