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Stock Futures Pare Losses After Retail Sales Number

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring losses Monday after a rise in an April retail sales report, pointing to positive trends in U.S. growth.

Futures for the S&P 500 were off 2.25 points, or 3.15 points below fair value, to 1,627.25.

The Census Bureau reported Monday that retail sales rose 0.1% in April after falling by a revised 0.5% in March. Excluding autos, retail sales fell 0.1% after dipping 0.4%. Economists, on average, were expecting retail sales to fall 0.3% in April, and excluding autos, to dip 0.1%.

Business inventories are forecast to have increased 0.3% in March after rising 0.1% in February. The Census Bureau releases this data at 10 a.m. EDT.

Data from the world's second-largest economy was also weighing on sentiment, with China's April industrial output report rising only mildly and disappointing expectations. The modest increase in April retail sales also added to worries about a feeble economic recovery in China. The country also reported that its fixed-asset investment unexpectedly decelerated in April.

"This set of data still suggests a painfully slow mend of China's growth momentum," Yao Wei, a Hong Kong-based economist with Societe Generale SA, wrote in a report.

Carnival (CCL - Get Report) shares were shedding more than 1% to $34.72 as investors continue to digest the troubles that have hit the cruise line operator, with the latest event being two Australian passengers who went missing in the ocean after falling out the cruise ship. The search for the two was called off Friday. The company has provided assurances that its railings are more than sufficiently high to prevent accidental falls.

Elan (ELN) and Theravance (THRX - Get Report) reached a $1 billion agreement in which Elan will buy 21% of royalties that Theravance receives from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for four respiratory drugs. Elan shares were slipping 0.34% to $11.74, while Theravance was surging more than 12% to $39.25.

The deal includes Breo Ellipta, a new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that received approval from the Food and Drug Administration last week.

Yum! Brands (YUM - Get Report), the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell said Friday that sales in China fell 29% in April, damaged by bird flu scares.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 17 points, or 25.49 points below fair value, to 15,051. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 4 points, or 5.92 points below fair value, to 2,971.5.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index finished down 1.42% Monday. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 1.2%. The FTSE 100 in the UK was falling 0.27% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.64%.

June gold futures were down $9.40 to $1,427.20 an ounce. June oil futures were sliding $1.15 to $94.89 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 2/32, diluting the yield to 1.897%. The dollar was up 0.04% to $83.18 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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