Futures Rise as China Data Balance Retail Sales


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U.S. stock-index futures climbed on Monday after upbeat data from China and strong Citi earnings helped traders overcome a disappointing retail sales report.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 32 points to 15403, S&P 500 futures advanced 3.8 points to 1674 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 6.5 points to 3069.

The Dow and S&P 500 both notched fresh record closing highs in a rally last week driven by hopes the Federal Reserve will keep its foot firmly on the economic accelerator for a long time to come. This week was set to be a busy one as well, with several important economic reports on tap, a slew of corporate earnings out, and testimony from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

China said its economy grew at an annual pace of 7.5% in the second quarter, matching economists estimates and marking only a slight dip from the 7.7% the economy logged in the first three months of the year.

"GDP growth slowed in (the second quarter), while June activity data sent mixed signals, which should help reduce concerns of a hard economic landing but leave us comfortable with our view that the growth slowdown in China will be ongoing for several quarters," Zhiwei Zhang, an economist at Nomura wrote in a note to clients.

Still, the Japan-based investment bank slashed its forecast for 2014 growth to 6.9% from 7.5%.

On the U.S. front, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.4% in June, missing economists’ expectations of a 0.8% jump. Excluding the auto sector, sales were unchanged compared to expectations they would rise 0.4%.

"The number one takeaway from today’s report is that the consumer was a bit weaker than expected in the second quarter," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG wrote in an email.  "These new numbers will weigh even more on 2Q GDP but investors have already internalized a very weak report."

Meanwhile, the New York Federal Reserve’s gauge of manufacturing activity rose to 9.46 in July from 7.84 in June, beating expectations it would fall to 5.

In corporate news, Citigroup (NYSE:C) revealed adjusted second-quarter earnings of $1.25 a share on revenues of $20 billion, topping expectations of $1.17 a share on $19.75 billion.

Separately, analysts at Citigroup added Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) to their Top Picks Live list, with a sell rating and a price target of $23.

In commodities, oil prices slumped 65 cents, 0.61%, to $105.31 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dropped 1.5% to $3.072 a gallon. Gold rose $4.10, or 0.33%, to $1,282 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 ticked up 0.09% to 2677, the English FTSE 100 climbed 0.35% to 6568 and the German DAX gained 0.1% to 8221.

In Asia, the Chinese Hang Seng drifted higher by 0.12% to 21303. The Tokyo Stock Exchange was closed for Marine Day.

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