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Markets slide after weekend summit

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Stock futures are under selling pressure here in the U.S. and look to follow overseas markets lower after this weekends summit in Azores between the U.S., U.K. and Spain has given the UN Security Council to the close of business in Eastern Standard Time to respond to their ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to go into exile.

The U.S. has also advised UN weapons inspectors to begin pulling out of Iraq, while the U.K warned British citizens living in Kuwait to leave the Gulf as soon as possible.

The high likelihood of a U.S/U.K lead war with Iraq has had overseas markets under selling pressure on Monday, with Asian markets mixed, but European markets broadly lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.7%, Taiwan's Taiwan Weighted fell 2.64%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.7%. In Europe, France's CAC 40 is lower by 2.27%, Germany's DAX is down 1.04% and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is down 0.76%. Turkey's ISE National-100, which border's Iraq is falling 10.66%.

Here in the U.S., Treasuries are seeing early buying, while the Dollar slips lower as do stock futures. The euro dipped below the $1.08 mark after lifting overnight to as much as $1.0840.

Spot gold was up 1% in London trade, bid from $339.90-340 an ounce. The April Gold futures contract (gc03j) is gaining $5.10, or +1.54% to $341.70.

The active Brent crude was up 42 cents at $30.55 a barrel on the IPE, but off an opening gain over $1 a barrel. April Light, Sweet Crude futures (cl03j) are gaining $0.44 at $35.82.

S&P futures (sp03m) 829.50 -0.43% are lower by 3.6 points, NASDAQ futures (nd03m) 1,026.50 -1.01% are off 10.5 points, while Dow futures (dj03m) 7,785 -0.82% are down 65 points.

HL Camp & Company has not posted their updated program trading data today. On Friday, the computers were set for program buying at $0.22 and set for program selling at $-2.42. With the S&P 500 Index little changed on Friday, buy/sell program premium alerts should be within 1 or 2 cents of Friday's levels.

Jeff Bailey

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