Dow May Retreat From Record Highs Today

LONDON -- After the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another record closing high on Friday, stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow may open six points lower this morning, while the S&P 500 may open down by 2.3 points, or 0.15%.

There are no major economic reports due today, but investors may focus on overnight figures from China, which showed that industrial production rose by 9.9% during the first two months of 2013, less than the 10.6% forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Retail sales also missed expectations, although they did rise by 12.3%.

Dick's Sporting Goods released earnings this morning. The retailer reported consolidated earnings of $1.03 per diluted share, falling short of analyst expectations of $1.06. Revenue of $1.8 billion fell about $600 million short of expectations, partly due to poor sales of cold-weather outerwear, which the company blamed on an unusually mild winter. Shares in Dick's are down 7.3% in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, Chinese social-networking company Renren reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $21.1 million this morning, beating analysts' expectations of a $28.2 million loss. Renren's sales rose by 49% to $48.8 million during the final quarter of last year. The stock is down 0.65% ahead of the opening bell.

Other stocks that could be actively traded when markets open this morning include pharmaceutical giant Merck, which may edge lower after data published on Saturday showed serious side effects in a large-scale test of the company's Niacin cholesterol drug.

European markets
Markets edged lower in Europe this morning following a mixed bag of data from China and the eurozone. In Germany, exports rose by 1.4% in January, while imports rose by 3.3%, reducing the country's trade surplus to 15.7 billion euros. In France, industrial production fell by 1.2% in January and has fallen by 3.3% over the three months from November to January.

At 8:10 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 0.19%, the CAC 40 was down 0.27%, the FTSE MIB was down 0.84%, and the IBEX 35 was down 1.5%. In London, the FTSE 100 was 0.17% higher, with 1.7% gains for British Sky Broadcasting and brewer SABMiller offset by falls for Sage, Evraz, and Barclays, which sank to the bottom of the leaderboard.

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