The U.S. stock futures traded in red as growing concerns over euro-zone debt crisis and budget talks in the U.S. offset a number of M&A deals.
Ahead of the opening bell, Mini Dow industrial average futures were trading lower by 143 points to 11,624. The Nasdaq Futures were trading down 20.75 points to 2,229. Standard and Poor's 500 futures fell 16.00 points to 1,197.90, today.
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On the corporate front, Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) said it will acquire Pharmasset Inc. (NASDAQ:VRUS), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing an experimental hepatitis C drug, for around $11 billion or $137 per share in cash. The transaction represents an 89 premium to Pharmasset's closing share price of $72.67 on Friday.
Insurance companies Alleghany Corp. (NYSE: Y) and Transatlantic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TRH) have agreed to merge in a stock and cash transaction valued around $3.4 billion or $59.79 per share. The transaction represents a premium of about 10 percent to Transatlantic's closing price of $54.43.
On the earnings front, Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) posted fourth-quarter earnings that haled from last year as costs rose. TSN reported earnings per share of 26 cents versus 57 cents a year ago, while Wall Street projected 32 cents. Sales rose 12.9 percent to $8.4 billion. Gross profit as percentage of sales was 4.7 percent from 9.0 percent last year.
HP (NYSE: HPQ) is scheduled to report its quarterly numbers after the market closes. Analysts expect EPS of $1.13 excluding items on revenue of $32.05 billion.
The global markets fell sharply today as worries over euro-zone debt crisis escalated even as Moody's investor service warned on French creditworthiness. In Europe, Germany's DAX was down by 1.99 percent or 115.38 points to trade at 5,684.86. France's CAC40 fell 2.15 percent or 64.46 points to 2,932.55. Britain's FTSE 100 declined 1.61 percent or 86.16 points to 5,276.78.
In the Asian market, China's Shanghai Composite closed lower by 0.09 percent, or 1.43 points to 2,415.13. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.44 percent or 265.38 points to 18,225.80. Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.32 percent or 26.64 points to close trading at 8,348.27. India's BSE 30 Sensex lost 2.60 percent, or 425.41 points to close at 15,946.10.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil was trading lower by 1.06 percent at $96.63 per barrel. Gold fell 0.74 percent at $1,712 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro was trading lower by 0.42 percent against the U.S. dollar, and the British pound lost 1.06 percent against the dollar. The dollar edged down 0.06 percent against the Japanese yen.