Stock Futures Extend Losses on Data

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U.S. stock-index futures signaled Wall Street may open in the red as traders digested data pointing to declines in retail sales and wholesale prices.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:42 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 35 points to 12477, S&P 500 futures dipped 5.8 points to 1314 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 8.5 points to 2537.

Retail sales fell 0.2% in May from April as expected, according to the Commerce Department. However, excluding the auto sector, sales were down 0.4%, compared to expectations of no change. Gasoline stations and building-material stores took the biggest hit by a wide margin, while automakers saw the biggest gains.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed wholesale inflation sliding 1% in May from April, which was a bigger drop than the 0.6% that was expected. It represented the biggest slide since July 2009. Excluding the more volatile food and energy components, prices were up 0.2%. The more closely-watched data on consumer prices are due out on Thursday.

The markets have had a volatile week, with the Dow shedding 143 points on Monday just to tack on 163 points on Tuesday. Market participants have been fixated on the crisis in the eurozone, with the critical Greek elections looming just days away.

"We believe the risks from Europe will remain a key market driver for the foreseeable future," analysts at Barcalys Capital wrote in a note to clients. The analysts added that the downside risk resulting from the elections remains "considerable."

In a sign of the ongoing anxiety, Italy paid the highest yield in six months to borrow for one year on private markets in a bond auction on Wednesday. In secondary markets, Italy's benchmark 10-year bonds yielded 6.11%, while Spain's yield clocked in at 6.68%. Analysts say yields above 6% are perilously high, and could potentially limit the countries' access to private capital. Still, both countries saw the cost to insure their debt against a default fall slightly, according to financial data firm Markit.

Investors have been paying especially close attention to the borrowing costs both of those countries pay amid worries they could be the next victims of the crisis.

Meanwhile, factory output in the 17-member currency bloc slid 0.8% in April from March, according to data from Eurostat. It was the biggest drop in a month.

The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks eurozone blue chips, edged higher by 0.03%.

Oil futures were little changed ahead of the weekly inventory report from the Energy Department at 10:30 a.m. ET. Analysts expect U.S. oil stocks to have fallen by 1.4 million barrels last week. The benchmark crude oil contract fell 18 cents, or 0.2%, to $83.15 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.4% to $2.66 a gallon.

In metals, gold slid $3.80, or 0.24%, to $1,610 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.03%, the English FTSE 100 slipped 0.06% to 5471 and the German DAX dipped 0.45% to 6133.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 climbed 0.6% to 8588 and the Chinese Hang Seng jumped 0.82% to 19027.