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NEW YORK (AP) _ U.S. equities are headed for a mixed to lower opening Monday, as investors hold off on making big investment decisions amid increasing political uncertainty over Iraq and before the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Both factors ``should have some psychological impact'' said Peter Cardillo, chief strategist at Global Partners Securities, who expects an emotional market over the next few days. And with little economic news over the next couple days, the market is expected to focus on those two issues.

Futures contracts for the Dow were recently down by 34 points, while Nasdaq futures were down 3.5 and Standard & Poor's futures shed 2.9 points. The Dow Jones Indicative Average, which indicates actual trades of the industrial average's 30 components overseas, is off 52.94 at 8,374.26.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 143.50 points, or 1.73 percent, to 8,427.20. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 44.30, or 3.54 percent, at 1,295.30 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 14.77 points to 893.92.

Overnight in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 177.19 points, or 1.9 percent, to 9,306.26, prompted by Wall Street's strong rally and hopes for a package of steps from the Japanese government to fight deflation and bolster stock prices.

Nearby in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended up 2.81 points, or 0.03 percent, at 9,723.67.

European markets are lower in midday trading. London's FTSE 100 is down 0.75 percent; Paris' CAC-40 is off 1.07 percent, and Frankfurt's Xetra Dax is 1.89 percent lower.