* NY Fed Empire State manufacturing data on tap
* U.S. to launch trade complaint against China
* JP Morgan reviewed by regulators
* Futures down: S&P 4 pts, Dow 23 pts Nasdaq 4.75
By Edward Krudy U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Monday after the best two weeks for the S&P 500 in three months left the index at its highest level in nearly five years, with investors turning their attention to the economy and instability in the Middle East.
U.S. stocks rose for a fourth session on Friday after the Federal Reserve took bold action to spur the economy that could keep equities buoyed in the coming months. The move followed a decision by the European Central Bank to support debt-ridden euro zone nations by purchasing their debt.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Afghan capital on Monday in t he latest o f demonstrations that have swept the Muslim world, while I sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran would reach the brink of being able to build a nuclear bomb in just six or seven months.
“The September blues are about to hit us,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. “There are a lot of geo-political concerns heating up and I suspect they could be one of the reasons why we could be set for a temporary pullback.”
The New York Federal Reserve releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for September at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of -2.00 for the main index compared with -5.85 in August. A national ISM manufacturing survey earlier this month showed the sector contracted for a third month in August.
S&P 500 futures fell 4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 23 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 4.75 points.
General Electric Co has hired Morgan Stanley to review its 33 percent stake in Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya Pcl, which could potentially lead to a sale by the U.S. conglomerate of its near $2.2 billion holding, sources familiar with the matter said.
The U.S. Treasury Department is unwilling to sell the government’s stake in General Motors Co because a sale now would mean huge investment losses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people close to the matter.
President Barack Obama will launch a trade complaint against China over what his administration says is Beijing’s unfair government backing of its auto industry, a White House official said on Sunday.
A day before a strike deadline at the Detroit Three automakers, the Canadian Auto Workers chose Ford Motor Co as the lead company for contract talks, saying the union believes it has the best chance of reaching a deal with Ford and averting a damaging work stoppage.
Activist hedge fund Starboard Value is expected to disclose on Monday that it has taken a 13.3 percent stake in Office Depot Inc, making it the biggest shareholder of the office products supplier, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
JPMorgan Chase & Co’s compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws is being reviewed by a banking regulator, a source said, making the largest U.S. bank the latest target of a wide investigation of how banks prevent transactions involving drug money and sanctioned countries.