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Futures Slide on Economic Data

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were slipping Tuesday as concerns about rising inflation in China and weaker-than-expected retail sales growth in the U.S. weighed on Wall Street.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 17 points, or 31 points below fair value, at 12,207. Futures for the S&P 500 were lower by 2.4 points, or 4.8 points below fair value, at 1325, and Nasdaq futures were down by 4.2 points, or 6.9 points below fair value.

Stocks ran in place for most of Monday's session on a day that was light on economic data but saw the White House release a $3.73 trillion budget for fiscal 2012.

China on Tuesday said inflation rose 4.9% in January on a 10.3% spike in food costs . The rise was slightly higher than December's uptick of 4.6% and just below the 28-month high of 5.1% in November. The news comes after Beijing has raised interest rates three times since October to rein in economic growth.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1% while Japan's Nikkei added 0.2%. London's FTSE was shedding 0.02% while the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 0.2%.

The Commerce Department said January retail sales rose 0.3%, falling slightly short of the 0.5% increase that economists had been expecting. Excluding autos, sales also gained 0.3%, compared with the 0.6% uptick that had been expected. In December, retail sales rose 0.5% and 0.6%, excluding autos.

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The New York Fed said February manufacturing activity in the New York region rose largely as expected with the Empire State manufacturing index jumping to 15.43 from 11.92, previously. Economists had expected a reading of 15.5.

Export prices, excluding agriculture, gained 0.9% in January, after rising by 0.6% in December, and import prices, excluding oil, increased 0.8%, after growth of 0.3% in December.

At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department will release its report on business inventories for December. Economists are projecting expansion of 0.6%, after growth of 0.2% in November, according to Briefing.com.

At the same time, the National Association of Home Builders housing market index is slated to climb to 17 in February, from a reading of 16 in January.

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