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The Dow was poised to slip from the record high it logged last week as markets in Europe fell on the back of weak data from China and a downgrade of Italian debt.
As of 8:03 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 8 points to 14305, S&P 500 futures dipped 2 points to 1543 and Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 4.8 points to 2793.
The blue-chip average posted its third-straight week of gains last week, topping a record high set in 2007. Meanwhile, the broader S&P 500 extended its winning streak to two weeks and moved within 0.9% of its all-time peak.
Sentiment across world trading desks was slightly less optimistic as the new week kicked off. Markets in Asia were mixed, while European bourses were broadly lower.
Data released over the weekend showed China's industrial output growing at an annual pace of 9.9% in the first two months of the year, slower than the 10.5% economists expected. Retail sales expanded at a rate of 12.3%, also coming in shy of forecasts of 15.2%. China is the world's second-biggest economy, and while growth has remained robust, there have been concerns that it could cool dramatically as the global economy struggles.
Fitch sliced Italy's long-term credit rating one notch from "A-" to "BBB+" with a negative outlook in the middle of the U.S. session on Friday. European markets were already closed at the time, so traders there had their first chance to respond Monday. Italy's benchmark stock-market index sold off by 1%.
The downgrade "illustrates the [European Central Bank's] lack of control over elements in the matrix of risks assessed by investors and rating agencies," Guy Mandy, an analyst at Nomura wrote to clients over the weekend. The ECB was able to calm embattled eurozone debt markets by saying it is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep borrowing costs from spiking last fall.
Commodity futures were mixed. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract fell 14 cents, or 0.15%, to $91.81 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rallied 1.3% to $3.244 a gallon. In metals, gold ticked up by $1.60, or 0.1%, to $1,579 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 dropped 0.8% to 2707, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.03% to 6485 and the German DAX slipped 0.38% to 7957.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 0.53% to 12349 and the Chinese Hang Seng was essentially unchanged at 23091.