Market Hustle: Stock Futures Weak, Producer Prices Fall

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures remained weak Friday after an unexpected drop in an inflation indicator.

The Producer Price Index for February fell 0.1%, compared to expectations of a 0.2% increase.

Market participants were expecting a downbeat trading session amid concerns about China's growth and heightened global tensions over Ukraine.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were sliding 62 points, or 41.89 points below fair value, to 15,985. S&P 500 futures were down 6.5 points, or 4.74 points below fair value, to 1,833.25. Nasdaq futures were down 9.7 points, or 6.79 points below fair value, to 3,634.8.
  • Investors were cautious heading into the weekend as the referendum in Crimea on Sunday will determine whether Crimea joins Russia and risks heightened tensions. Western leaders are declaring that the referendum is illegal and have warned Russia that it will be isolated further and have threatened sanctions.
  • International markets were down Friday amid the increasing friction between the West and Russia over Ukraine and ongoing China growth concerns. The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.16%, the DAX in Germany was off 0.24%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng settled behind by 1%, and the Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 3.3%.
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for March will be released at 9:55 a.m. EDT.
  • Federal Reserve vice chair nominee Stanley Fischer will be making a public appearance in Stanford, Calif. on Friday.
  • Aeropostale (ARO) was dropping more than 16% after posting a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss of 35 cents a share as revenue disappointed and same-store sales fell 15%. General Mills (GIS) was slumping more than 3% after reporting preliminary third-quarter earnings that were below analysts' expectations. General Motors (GM) was down 1.44% after the Center for Auto Safety reported that 303 deaths occurred after airbags failed to deploy inside vehicles included among the 1.6 million cars recalled by GM in February.
  • Stocks tumbled on Thursday, the most in a month, as fears about China's slowing economy and the crisis in Ukraine gripped investors, and outweighed an increase in retail sales.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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