NEW YORK -- Wall Street appears headed a slightly higher opening, as investors weigh the impact of Standard & Poor's warning about European credit ratings that sent most world markets lower.
Dow Jones industrial futures were up 0.2 percent at 12,103 and S&P 500 futures were up 0.1 percent at 1,256.
Overseas stocks sank after Standard and Poor's warned 15 countries using the euro that it could downgrade their credit ratings within the next 90 days. Skepticism over a new plan to prevent a breakup of the common currency also dragged markets lower.
The S&P warning left out only two of 17 countries that use the euro: Cyprus, whose bonds have near-junk status, and Greece, whose low ratings already suggest it is likely to default soon anyway.
Concerns that several European countries could have trouble paying down their debt are nothing new. They lie at the heart of the crisis strangling Europe. But an S&P downgrade could make matters worse.
S&P's announcement stopped a days-long European rally in its tracks. It came just hours after the German and French leaders unveiled a series of proposals, including punishing governments for overspending, that they hope will persuade the European Central Bank or the International Monetary Fund to lend the eurozone more support.
The warning also curtailed a strong performance on Wall Street Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average finished with a gain of 78 points. But it had been up 167 points before reports of the S&P action emerged.
On Tuesday, European stock markets and the euro have recovered some early losses.
In Germany, the DAX stock index dropped 1.1 percent to 6,040, while France's CAC-40 fell 0.6 percent to 3181. The FTSE index of leading British shares rose 0.2 percent to 5,5580.85.
The euro fell less than 0.1 percent to $1.3383.
Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.4 percent to close at 8,575.16. South Korea's Kospi fell 1 percent to 1,902.82 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.2 percent to 18,942.23. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.4 percent to 4,262.
In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.3 percent to 2,325.91.
Benchmark crude for January delivery fell 55 cents to $100.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.