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Stock Futures Decline as Yen Surges

Tickers in this article: GOOG IBM RBS SWY ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were declining Thursday as the Japanese yen and Treasuries surged, and as investors remained on edge about the future direction of global monetary policy ahead of a spate of U.S. economic reports. The Japanese market sank into bear market territory Thursday.

"There is very real panic in the markets this morning all around the world as stock prices quite literally plunged in Asia ... as money is moving out of equities into bonds and anything associated with dollars of any sort are being sold," Dennis Gartman, an economist and trader, said in his daily Gartman letter.

Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 8 points, or 10.02 points below fair value, to 1,602. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were slumping 70 points, or 81.23 points below fair value, to 14,908. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 14.5 points, or 20.29 points below fair value, to 2,905.75.

Royal Bank of Scotland was slipping 1.52% to $9.69 in premarket trading. The bank said Wednesday that Stephen Hester will step down as CEO later this year. The bank is 81%-owned by the U.K. government following a bailout in 2008.

Hester was pressured to resign by the bank's board, which wants a new leader in place as RBS prepares to return to the private sector.

IBM began cutting U.S. jobs Wednesday as part of a global restructuring plan announced in April, a person familiar with the move told Bloomberg. Shares were trading down to $200.50.

The job cuts target employees with a range of seniority, from rank-and-file staff to executives, the person told Bloomberg. The restructuring will cost $1 billion worldwide, including severance expenses.

U.K. lawmakers accused Google of dodging its taxes in a report on Thursday, saying the search giant took on highly contrived arrangements serving no purpose other than to avoid paying its fair share. Google said it was honoring the law and complies with U.K. tax rules. Shares were falling 0.57% to $867.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan plunged 6.35% to finish at 12,445.38, dipping into bear market territory as the yen surged to its highest level against the U.S. dollar since the Bank of Japan introduced its aggressive economic stimulus package. Earlier this week, Japan's central bank announced its decision to refrain from further stimulus measures, hurting sentiment among some investors. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index fell 2.19% after re-opening after a public holiday on Wednesday.

European markets followed the Asian markets with declines of their own, with the FTSE 100 in London falling 1.15% and the DAX in Germany declining 1.71%. Last week, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi played down expectations that the central bank will do much more beyond continuing to pledge to do whatever it takes to defend the euro.