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Market Hustle: Stock Futures Slide Amid Weak China Trade Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were drifting lower Monday as the markets looked to take a breather after the S&P 500 finished at yet another record on Friday as investors continued to cheer an upbeat U.S. jobs report but also considered a spate of downbeat economic headlines from China and Japan.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 34 points, or 29.72 points below fair value, to 16,414. S&P 500 futures were off 3.5 points, or 2.59 points below fair value, to 1,874.5. Nasdaq futures were off 3.3 points, or 1.85 points below fair value, to 3,701.
  • Freescale Semiconductor (FSL - Get Report) featured prominently in the headlines Monday after the company confirmed that 20 of its employees were among the 239 passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that mysteriously went missing over the weekend. Twelve of the passengers were from Malaysia and eight were from China. CNN reported that despite a wide-scale search for the plane and its passengers and crew involving 34 planes, 40 ships and search crews from 10 countries, no signs of the plane have turned up.
  • A WSJ.com article published over the weekend said that the flight's disappearance could reignite debates about global air security flaws after the investigation exposed stolen passports and sparked concerns about outdated black box technology.
  • Boeing (BA - Get Report) was down 1.15% after saying that "hairline cracks" have been found in the wings of 40 787 Dreamliners currently in production and that delivery orders may be delayed. Verizon (VZ - Get Report) was off 0.57% as the company announces a share buyback program of up to 100 million shares.
  • Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans is scheduled to speak about the economy and monetary policy in Columbus, Ga., at 12:40 p.m. EDT. Earlier, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said during a panel in Paris that recent, improved economic data is not expected to result in a speed-up of Fed tapering from the current, measured pace of reductions.
  • Japan's economy expanded by an annualized 0.7% from the prior quarter, down from the previous preliminary estimate of 1%. In another discouraging sign for the export-driven economy and "Abenomics," its current account deficit widened to a record 1.589 trillion yen ($15.38 billion) in January.
  • China reported a trade deficit of $23 billion for February, a big miss from the expectations for a trade surplus of $14.5 billion.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng settled down by 1.75% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.01%. The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.17% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.34%.
  • Markets narrowly captured gains Friday as investors weighed a better U.S. jobs report for February against rising tensions in Ukraine. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to a record high of 1,878.04 as the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for February showed a gain of 175,000 jobs, greater than the 149,000 jobs expected by economists.
  • Year five of this bull market is now over and S&P Capital IQ's chief equity strategist Sam Stovall says in a morning note that it "won the silver medal" relative to the six other bull markets since WWII that celebrated their fifth birthdays.
  • Stovall comments that the S&P 500 rose a cumulative 178% in price from March 9, 2009 through March 7, 2014, second only to the bull market that started in August of 1982, which gained 225%. "Even though outlooks are very different today than they were in 2009, the same question remains: When will it end? As Brooke Benton once sang, 'It's Just a Matter of Time,'" Stovall wrote in his note.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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