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Stocks down on global growth worries

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Stocks are falling again today amid global-growth fears and as bond prices continue to decline.

S&P 500 futures are down about 1 percent, while European indexes have dropped about 1 percent to 2 percent. The big move came overnight in Shanghai, which suffered a 5 percent selloff on credit-market worries. Goldman Sachs also lowered its growth forecast for China, and Japan fell more than 1 percent.

Equities are on track for their first monthly decline since October as concerns about higher interest rates hurt confidence in the longer-term economic outlook. The S&P 500 is also back to its 100-day moving average, an area where it consolidated for most of March. Those considerations could make some traders look for support.

The only scheduled event on today's economic calendar is the Chicago Federal Reserve's National Activity Index at 8:30 a.m. ET. Tomorrow is more active, with durable-goods orders, home prices, consumer confidence, and new-home sales. Attention will also shift soon to corporate earnings and company pre-announcements as the end of the quarter approaches.

Energy prices are painting a less bearish picture than equities, with oil down only one-quarter of a percent and natural gas higher. Other commodities, however, are down more sharply. Copper is leading the declines with a drop of 2.5 percent amid the weakness in China. Gold and silver are down 1 percent and 2 percent respectively. Agricultural products are also mostly lower.

Foreign-exchange trading is mixed as the euro and Japanese yen decline modestly against the U.S. dollar. Currencies associated currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars, are down.

In company-specific news, Vanguard Health Systems is indicated sharply higher after Tenet Healthcare agreed to buy the hospital operator for $1.8 billion. Keynote Systems is also higher after accepting a $395 million private-equity buyout.

Tomorrow's earnings calendar includes results from homebuilder Lennar, pharmacy chain Walgreen, and cruise-ship operator Carnival.

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