Stocks Lower On Weak Chinese Data

Stocks are drifting lower today after weak economic news from China, but retail sales later this morning could change that.

S&P 500 futures are down about one-third of a percent, following declines of a similar magnitude in Europe. Most Asian markets were lower, though Japan’s Nikkei continued its blistering run with a gain of another 1.2 percent.

China’s fixed-asset investment slowed while industrial production missed forecasts. But the big headline of the day comes at 8:30 a.m. ET, when the Commerce Department reports retail-sales data for April. Economists predict contraction of 0.3 percent, compared with a negative 0.4 percent reading the previous month.

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