* UnitedHealth to buy 90 pct of Brazil's Amil
* Foxconn denies plant strike report
* TPC Group gets higher buyout offer from Innospec
* Futures off: Dow 45 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 12.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on
Monday after the World Bank cut its growth forecasts for East
Asia, underscoring concerns about the global economic climate
and corporate profits on the cusp of the kickoff of the
quarterly earnings season.
The World Bank reduced its growth forecasts for the East
Asia and Pacific region and said there was a risk the slowdown
in China could worsen and last longer than many analysts have
China, the world's second largest economy, has been hampered
by the euro zone debt crisis. Europe is one of China's largest
"Given the World Bank outlook on East Asia, the market is
taking a defensive tack," said Andre Bakhos, director of market
analytics at Lek Securities in New York.
"Simply stated, the market has been strong and is looking
for an additional driving theme. the World Bank announcement
takes a little air out of recent enthusiasm and puts the market
The third-quarter earnings season will kick off on Tuesday
with results from Dow component Alcoa Inc. Analysts
expect Alcoa is expected to report a break-even quarter, down
from a profit of 15 cents per share a year earlier, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
Recent earnings warnings from large multinationals such as
FedEx Corp, Caterpillar Inc and Hewlett-Packard
Co, which have cited weakness in Europe and China, have
made investors cautious about corporate profits.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, 91
companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 have issued
negative outlooks versus 21 positive preannouncements, for a
ratio of 4.3, the weakest showing since the third quarter of
S&P 500 futures fell 5.5 points on Monday 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 lost
45 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 12.5 points.
There are no economic events or S&P 500 companies scheduled
to report earnings on Monday, and trading may be light due to
the Columbus Day holiday.
Apple Inc shares dipped 0.7 percent to $648.31 in
premarket after a report by China Labor Watch, a rights advocate
group, that a Foxconn plant in China that makes Apple's iPhone
was crippled by a strike. Foxconn, a Taiwanese company, denied
Health insurer UnitedHealth Group said it would buy
a 90 percent stake in Amil Participacoes SA, Brazil's
largest healthcare company, for about $4.9 billion.
Chemicals maker TPC Group Inc said it received a
buyout proposal from Innospec Inc for $721.3 million,
topping an offer made by private equity firms First Reserve Corp
and SK Capital Partners.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc and American Express on
Monday said they were teaming up to offer customers an
alternative to debit and checking accounts.
General Motors Co and its China joint ventures sold
244,266 vehicles in the country in September, up 1.7 percent
from a year earlier, the U.S. automaker said.
Asian and European shares also fell in the wake of the World
Bank growth forecasts for East Asia.