Alcoa also down as Merrill cut its target price.
1) Futures, already weak, took an additional 5-point dip at 8:30 AM ET as revised Productivity numbers for the fourth quarter came in well below expectations, and Unit Labor Costs rose.
2) February retail sales: most were still down, but there were some pockets of positive news.
*Wal-Mart up 3 percent pre-open, did significantly better: same store sales up 5.1 percent, better than the 2.2 percent expected.
*Family Dollar up 8 percent pre-open, also reported numbers well above expectations and guided higher for the quarter ($0.59-$0.61 vs. $0.51 consensus)
*Kohls had results better than expected (down 1.6 percent, vs. expectations of down 4 percent) and said February sales results "exceeded our expectations" as regular price selling offset significantly lower levels of clearance sales.
Also better than expected: Gap, and teen retailers like Aeropostale (merchandise margins increased over last year, inventories were well controlled and on plan), American Eagle, Hot Topic and Wet Seal.
Worse than expected: Abercrombie (sales down 30 percent, way worse than 19.7 percent decline expected), Macy's