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U.S. Stock Futures Slip, Retail Sales Data Eyed

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 7:55 AM
U.S. stock futures fell on Wednesday as investors keenly wait for February retail sales data, scheduled to be released ahead of the morning bell. At last check, futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average Index dropped 0.11%; those on NASDAQ 100 Index lost 0.18% while futures on S&P 500 Index edged down 0.21%. On Tuesday, Dow Jones Index pared initial losses to extend its all-time-high level while S&P 500’s 7–session of winning streak was snapped but the index closed only 14 points below its record high level. After the release of unexpectedly strong non-farm payrolls data on Friday, Wall Street investors will keep a close on retail sale data. Should the numbers show any weakness (since U.S. consumer spending was hurt by higher payroll taxes, inflation in gasoline prices, and delays in tax refunds) then the path to economic recovery could prove to be shaky. The data will be released at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters are expecting retail sales (excluding and including auto and gasoline sales) to increase by 0.5% in February, compared to 0.1% rise in January. Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) will under spotlight on Wednesday. According to IDC, sales of Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android tablets are expected to surpass iPad sales in this year. On earnings front, Vera Bradley Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) and Men’s Warehouse Inc. (NYSE: MW) are scheduled to report quarterly earnings. Markets in Asia ended lower with Nikkei 225 falling 0.61%, Hang Seng Index plunging 1.46% while China’s benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite Index slumping nearly 1% for the day. Elsewhere in Europe, all leading benchmark indexes were trading in red territory, at last check. In some other markets, oil gained 0.26% to $92.78 a barrel while U.S. gold futures edged up 0.16% to $1594.10 an ounce.  
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