US STOCKS-Wall St to fall at open, weighed by energy stocks

* Futures off: Dow 69 pts, S&P 9 pts, Nasdaq 13.5 pts (Updates prices, adds comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Dow Futures fell on Monday as volume returned to markets after the New Year holiday, with energy shares sliding again as crude prices fell to fresh 5-1/2 year lows.

Crude oil futures prices dropped to their lowest since May 2009 amid a global supply glut and lackluster demand. Russia’s oil output hit a post-Soviet high last year, and Iraq’s oil exports in December were at the highest since 1980.

Oil and other commodities are likely to be pressured further by the strength in the U.S. dollar. A measure of the greenback against a basket of major currencies hit its highest since December 2005.

The fall in futures is “driven quite a bit by the slump in energy prices,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

He said aside from the positive effect it has on consumers, the plunge in energy could have a negative effect in other sectors of the market.

“You also have a very strong dollar,” he said. “Multinationals will have their earnings decreased if they aren’t fully hedged.”

S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 9 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 69 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 13.5 points.

An exchange-traded fund that tracks S&P 500 energy stocks was down 1.7 percent in premarket trading. The S&P 500 energy sector fell almost 20 percent over the last two quarters of 2014.

Shares of Cempra Inc were up 12.1 percent after rising nearly 30 percent premarket. It moved closer to approval of its lead antibiotic, solithromycin, after an oral version of the potential blockbuster met the main goal in a late-stage trial.

A gauge of economic activity in the New York area is due at 9:45 a.m. (1445 GMT). Data on U.S. car and truck sales is expected throughout the day.

Concerns over Greece’s future in the euro zone and a sharp decline in commodities stocks triggered by lower crude oil and metals prices kept European equities under pressure.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

Dow Futures

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