Stocks set to slip after retail sales

By staff

NEW YORK( -- U.S. stocks were set to slide Friday, after a downbeat May retail sales report was released before the bell.

Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures were all lower.

Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.

U.S. stocks closed with a pop Thursday as euro-zone concerns eased. The Dow (INDU), the S&P 500 (SPX) and the Nasdaq (COMP) all added about 3%.

Earlier in the session, stock futures had been higher after "a follow-through in global markets, following yesterday's U.S. jump," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co.

Investors will also keep a close eye on the euro and on commodities, he added.

Economy: Before the market opened, the Commerce Department released a disappointing retail sales for May. Sales fell by 1.2% last month, but economists expected them to have risen 0.3%.

Sales excluding autos, which add volatility, fell by 1.1%. They were expected to have risen 0.1%.

At 10 a.m. ET is the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index, expected to have risen to 74.8 in June from 73.6 in late May.

The April reading on business inventories from the government is due out after the start of trading. Inventories likely increased 0.5% after gaining 0.4% last month.

Companies: Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) said late Thursday it has set aside $100 million for a potential fraud settlement, the company said Thursday, as it nears a resolution with the Securities and Exchange Commission of a mysterious case that has plagued the company for more than five years.

Dell shares eased 1.7% in premarket trading.

A report in the Wall Street Journal said BP (BP) is considering suspending or cutting its second-quarter dividend amid political pressure over the Gulf oil spill.

Chief executive Tony Hayward told the Journal that BP is "considering all options on the dividend," which is slated to be announced July 27.

BP shares were up 4.8% in premarket trading.

World markets: European markets were mixed in afternoon trading. France's CAC 40 and Britain's FTSE 100 posted slight gains, while the DAX in Germany was down by 0.7%.

Stocks in Asia mostly gained. Japan's benchmark Nikkei index rose 1.7% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished the session up 1.2%.

Dollar and commodities: The dollar was up 0.2% on the euro. The greenback rose 1% on the British pound, and it was flat against the Japanese yen.

U.S. light crude oil for July delivery fell $1.58 to $73.90 a barrel.

COMEX gold's August contract fell $7.40 to $1,229.40 per ounce.

Bonds: Treasury prices were higher, pushing the benchmark 10-year note's yield down to 3.26%. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. To top of page

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