MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Poised To Open Lower, With Spotlight On Retail Sales, Inflation Data

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

J.C. Penney earnings due ahead of the bell

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U.S. stocks looked set to pull back again Friday, ahead of data on the struggling retail sector and on consumer prices, in what has largely been a losing week clouded by political worries.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 18 points to 20,852, while S&P 500 futures dipped 3.85 points, or 0.2%, to 2,387.25 and Nasdaq-100 futures eased 2.75 points, or 0.1%, to 5,668.

Investors will keep a close eye on retail-sales data and a reading of inflation due later, for their potential to sway the Federal Reserve's monetary-policy calculus

"Both have the ability to move the [dollar] around and could affect the pricing structure around the June FOMC meeting, with expectations of a [rate] hike sitting around 80%," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG, in a note to clients.

U.S. stocks finished with losses on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nasdaqs-record-run-on-the-line-as-snap-tumbles-after-results-2017-05-11), though well off session lows, led by declines for retail shares. Investors were grappling with lingering concerns over President Donald Trump's ability to push through his pro-growth agenda, after his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier in the week.

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The Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 0.2% at 6,115.96, while the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% to 2,3944.44. Down as much as 145 points earlier, the DJIA finished 23.69 points lower at 20,919.42.

Read:Retail stocks rocked as Macy's casts pall on sector (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/retail-stocks-rocked-as-macys-casts-pall-on-sector-2017-05-11)

For the week so far, the Dow is looking at 0.4% drop and the S&P 500 at a 0.2% decline, each set to break a three-week string of weekly wins. The Nasdaq Composite is poised for a gain of 0.2%. That would mark the index's fourth-straight weekly rise, albeit the smallest in the streak.

Economic docket: The retail-sales data for April is expected to come at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast a rebound of 0.5% growth from declines in March and February. Those declines contributed to a broader slowdown in consumer spending in the first quarter, the weakest in eight years.

At the same time, inflation numbers will be released. Economists expect the core consumer-price index rose 0.2%, from a 0.1% fall in March.

Read:Whew--the U.S. economy really isn't slowing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whew-us-economy-really-isnt-slowing-2017-05-07)

At 10 a.m. Eastern, the University of Michigan consumer-sentiment survey for May is due, as is a reading on business inventories in March.

As for Fed speakers, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will appear on a panel on economy and interest rates at the ACI financial markets conference in Dublin, Ireland at 9 a.m. Eastern. Then Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is due to speak on the economic outlook at Drexel University in Philadelphia at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.

Stock movers: Shares of J.C. Penney Co.'s(JCP) slumped 3.6% ahead of the bell after the department-store chain reported a larger-than-expected fall in same-store sales.

Read:J.C. Penney options traders prep for an unusually wild ride after earnings report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jc-penney-options-traders-prep-for-an-unusually-wild-ride-after-earnings-report-2017-05-11)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jc-penney-options-traders-prep-for-an-unusually-wild-ride-after-earnings-report-2017-05-11)Tidewater Inc.(TDW) sank 47% premarket after the oil services company said it expects to file for bankruptcy by May 17 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tidewaters-stock-plunges-after-announcing-bankruptcy-plan-2017-05-12).

U.S.-listed shares of AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) jumped 6% as the drugmaker posted positive, late-stage study results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/astrazeneca-plans-imfinzi-submission-after-trial-2017-05-12) for cancer treatment Imfinzi.

In the same vein, Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) picked up 1.6% before the open after saying a late-stage study of a migraine treatment met its primary goals (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/eli-lilly-reports-positive-results-in-trial-of-migraine-treatment-2017-05-12-791034).

Other markets: U.S. oil prices inched higher in choppy trade on Friday, heading for a gain of more than 3% for the week. Investors remain hopeful that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will extend a production-cut deal when it meets on May 25.

Read:Here's why OPEC might just let the deal on oil output collapse (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-opec-might-just-let-the-deal-on-oil-output-cuts-collapse-2017-05-11)

And see: U.S. oil prices will skyrocket if border tax comes in, says Goldman's Currie (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-oil-would-surge-if-border-adjusted-tax-enacted-says-goldmans-currie-2017-05-10)

Asian stocks were mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-pull-back-after-weak-earnings-in-us-2017-05-11), as some indexes retreated in step with U.S. stock losses, but Chinese equities gained. European stocks moved modestly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-log-small-gains-as-vivendi-rallies-but-cartiers-parent-a-drag-2017-05-12).

Gold prices rose $5, or 0.4%, to $1,229.20 an ounce, while the dollar held steady.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 12, 2017 08:06 ET (12:06 GMT)