Workers vs. Austerity: Banging drums and waving flags, tens of thousands of workers marked May Day in European cities Tuesday with a mix of anger and gloom over austerity measures imposed by leaders trying to contain the eurozone's intractable debt crisis.
Taking the baton from Asia, where unions demanded wage increases as they transformed the day from one celebrating workers rights to one of international protest, workers turned out in droves in Greece, France and Spain, the latest focus of a debt nightmare that has already forced three eurozone countries to seek financial bailo
"I am here because there is no future for the young people of this country," said 25-year Adriana Jaime as marchers walked up the city's main north-south boulevard, protesting health care and education spending cuts and other austerity measures taken by the new conservative government.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying desperately to cut a bloated deficit, restore investor confidence in Spain's public finances, lower the 24.4 jobless rate, and fend off fears it will join Greece, Ireland and Portugal in needing a bailout.
In France, tens of thousands of workers, leftists and union leaders were marking May Day with marches and rallies, in an optimistic mood ahead of presidential elections Sunday that a Socialist is expected to win for the first time since 1988.
In debt-crippled Greece, more than 2,000 people marched through central Athens in subdued May Day protests centered on the country's harsh austerity. Minor scuffles broke out in Athens when young men targeted political party stands, destroying two and partially burning another. There were no injuries.
In the United States, demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience were planned, including what could be the country's most high-profile Occupy rallies since the anti-Wall Street encampments came down in the fall.
Around 100,000 people in Moscow - including President Dmitry Medvedev and President-elect Vladimir Putin - took part in the main May Day march through the city center - though not to protest the government.
In the Philippine capital, Manila, more than 8,000 members of a huge labor alliance, many clad in red shirts and waving red streamers, marched under a brutal sun for 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to a heavily barricaded bridge near the Malacanang presidential palace, which teemed with thousands of riot police, Manila police chief Alex Gutierrez said.
In Indonesia, thousands of protesters demanding higher wages paraded through traffic-clogged streets in the capital, Jakarta, where 16,000 police and soldiers were deployed at locations including the presidential palace and airports.
Small Business: Lending to small business is slowing, possibly a sign of deteriorating confidence in the economy from entrepreneurs.
A study released Tuesday by PayNet, a research firm that tracks loans to small business, shows that lending fell 3 percent in March.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index was at 98.5 in March, down from a revised 101.8 in February. The index was at 110.5 in December, when companies were rushing to acquire equipment before the expiration of lucrative tax deductions at the end of 2011. PayNet's analysis shows that lending is up 10 percent from a year ago, but it's also at the level where it was in 2005.
Many companies have been hesitant to borrow since the recession because they have been uncertain about the economy.
U.S. Futures: U.S. market futures are gaining modestly as automakers report April sales and ahead of reports on the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 0.12 percent to 13,171. Standard & Poor's 500 futures are up 0.06 percent to 1,394.30. Nasdaq 100 futures are adding 0.11 percent to 2,722.25.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.