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Stock Futures Signal a Weak Start After Tepid China Data

Tickers in this article: BSX DKS GILD JPM T ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were signaling a weaker open on Wall Street Monday amid discouraging data from China, the world's second-largest economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday smashed through 14,400 for the first time before pulling back by the close to post its fourth-straight record closing session. The Dow and the S&P 500 booked six-day winning streaks on Friday.

Major U.S. stock averages ended higher Friday after a robust February employment report showed a decline in the unemployment rate to near pre-recession levels.

Schaeffer's Investment Research reported that momentum for the continued ascent of stocks remains apparent this week, though may advance more slowly than in previous weeks.

Still, said Schaeffer's, there are numerous bullish signs right now, including data showing that hedge funds continue to buy into the market and investors are purchasing portfolio insurance.

"In addition, this is a triple options expiration week and this week during the month of March has historically been quite good for the market," said Schaeffer's Investment Research.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 6 points, or 7.07 points below fair value, at 14,307. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.25 points, or 1.93 points below fair value, at 1542.25. Futures for the Nasdaq were behind by 5 points, or 4.61 points below fair value, at 2792.75.

JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade, said the jobs report from Friday should give the bulls confidence and help the S&P 500 test the 1575 level.

However, he was expecting some selling pressure after the nice run in recent weeks, as investors booked profits and reassessed conditions on Monday.

Over the weekend, data from China continued to indicate a lackluster start to 2013. Reports showed that while inflation increased more than expected, both industrial production and retail sales came in slightly less than expected.

China was seeing a slower rate of credit growth as well.

"A slew of China's economic data were released over the weekend and the economic outlooks painted by the economic data were less than satisfactory," noted Sim Han Qiang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures.

"Thus far, Chinese government has been proactive in dealing with property inflation but the desired results have not been forthcoming," the analyst added.

There were no major U.S. economic releases scheduled for Monday.

Economists will be keeping a close eye on February retail sales this Wednesday to glean more data on consumption trends and how consumers have been coping with the possibility of a fiscal drag on the economy in the first of 2013 from the sequester.

Gold for April delivery was rising $1.20 to $1,578.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude oil futures were down 23 cents to $91.72 a barrel.