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Stock futures point to lower open after China’s exports plummet


U.S. stock index futures were lower on Friday, amid escalating concerns about a global economic slowdown.

At around 6:45 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 103 points, indicating a drop of 107.23 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were both seen slightly lower.

Market focus is largely attuned to economic data, after shockingly weak export figures from China exacerbated concerns about a global economic downturn.

The world’s second-largest economy reported on Friday that exports in February slumped 20.7 percent from a year earlier, far below analyst expectations and wiping out a surprise jump in January.

Analysts cautioned that data from China at the beginning of the year may be distorted by week-long Chinese New Year public holidays, which started in early February this year. In 2018, Chinese New Year holidays started in mid-February.

Still, the scale of the miss was alarming for many investors.

It comes less than 24 hours after the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecasts for the euro zone and announced a new round of policy stimulus. The surprise announcement left many fearing the worst for the global economy.

Stateside, market participants are likely to closely monitor a fresh round of economic data.

Nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate and average hourly wages data for February will be released at around 8:30 a.m. ET. Housing starts and building permits figures for January are both expected to follow later in the trading day.

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