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Futures Pointing To Modestly Lower Open On Wall Street

4/2/2012 9:01 AM ET

After moving sharply higher over the first quarter of the year, stocks may give back some ground to start off the second quarter. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets on Monday, with the Dow futures down by 16 points.

Disappointing European economic data may contribute to any early weakness on Wall Street, with a report from Markit Economics showing a continued contraction in eurozone manufacturing activity.

Markit said its purchasing managers index fell to 47.7 in March from 49.0 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction. The latest number was in line with a preliminary reading.

A separate report released by Eurostat showed that the unemployment rate in the eurozone rose to a record high of 10.8 percent in February.

Not long after the open, trading could be impacted by the release of some U.S. economic data, including a report from the Institute for Supply Management on activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Economists expect the ISM's index of activity in the manufacturing sector to edge up to 53.0 in March from 52.4 in February, indicating a modest acceleration in the pace of growth in the sector.

The Commerce Department is also scheduled to release its report on construction spending in the month of February, with economists expect spending to increase by about 0.7 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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