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Stock market points to lower open

Stock market futures in US follow Europe, Asia lower. Stock market focus is on Greek debt deal and slowing growth in China.

By Associated Press / March 12, 2012

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday. The stock market on March 12, 2012, looked to open lower, following sinking share prices in Europe and mixed markets in Asia.

Richard Drew/AP

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NEW YORK

U.S. stock market futures followed most world markets lower Monday, as Europe prepared the final touches on a massive bailout for Greece, and China reported its biggest monthly trade deficit in at least a decade.

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Dow Jones industrial average futures slipped 28 points to 12,835. Standard & Poor's 500 futures shed 3 to 1,363.80. Nasdaq 100 futures were off 4.5 to 2,639.

In Europe, finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro were getting ready to meet to finalize a $171.48 billion bailout for Greece, its second in as many years. European markets were calm heading into the meeting, following Greece's successful private debt swap last week.

Germany's DAX slipped 0.18 percent. The CAC-40 in France lost 0.3 percent and London's FTSE 100 index of leading British shares edged up 0.47 percent.

Asian markets were mixed after China said economic data for January and February showed growth slowing.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.4 percent and South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.8 percent.

The slowdown in China pushed oil prices down, as the report suggested global demand for crude may be slowing.

Oil dropped to near $106 a barrel Monday. But crude remains near 10-month highs, which has pushed gasoline prices up 45 cents per gallon since Jan. 1 to an average of $3.73 per gallon. The spike has generated some concern that high gas prices could weaken the U.S. economic recovery.

U.S. stocks to watch Monday include PepsiCo Inc., after the beverage and snacks maker named several new executives in what appeared to be a move to line up a successor to CEO Indra Nooyi. PepsiCo shares added 50 cents to $63.65 in premarket trading.

Also in the news is Sealy Corp., whose second-largest shareholder asked the mattress company to shuffle its board and blamed the largest shareholder, private equity firm KKR & CO., for problems at the company. Sealy shares were not trading premarket.

Defibrillator maker Zoll Medical Corp. shares climbed 24 percent to $93.24 after its board agreed to a buyout offer of $93 per share from Japan's Asahi Kasei Corp.

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