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Weak Retail Sales Send Futures Lower

Disappointing retail sales numbers sent stock futures negative as Wall Street received fresh warnings about consumer weakness.

Retail sales fell 1.2 percent in May despite projections that they would increase 0.2 percent. Futures had been marginally lower before the news release but slumped quickly afterwards.

Elsewhere, BP rallied, gaining strongly in Europe and up 5.5 percent in premarket trading, as the troubled oil giant battles the worst oil spill in US history.

The head of investment banking at JPMorgan Chase said its second-quarter earnings performance could be affected by a reduction in client risk appetites.

"People are a little more wary, and that may have an impact on the second quarter, but I think it's way too early to tell right now," Jay Staley told reporters on the sidelines of a financial industry conference in Vienna, according to a Reuters report. Shares edged lower premarket.

Dell has set aside $100 million for a potential settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been probing the company's accounting practices and relationship with chipmaker Intel . Dell shares slipped 1.3 percent premarket.

Dow component Caterpillar and Navistar are working out a $586 million truck and engine manufacturing deal with China's Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, a source told Reuters.

On Thursday, U.S. stocks rallied as economic data from the U.S. and China, along with comments from Europe, helped momentum.

European shares rose on Friday, lifted by BP stock, in a 180-degree pivot of its spectacular downward trend since the oil spill in April.

British Prime Minister David Cameron offered to help deal with BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, saying he would take it up with U.S. President Barack Obama, as the company's shares rebounded from 14-year lows. On Thursday, UK industry expressed alarm yesterday at the “inappropriate” and increasingly aggressive rhetoric being deployed against BP from the US government.

Asian stocks surged on Friday, led by Tokyo, tracking Wall Street's rally overnight which saw all three major indices gaining nearly 3 percent. The Nikkei climbed 1.7 percent, moving closer towards a key resistance level, on signs of health in the euro debt market and a halt in the yen's advance against the euro.

Japan's new prime minister startled markets with statements that his country could face a financial mess like Greece has experienced if its debt problems are not addressed.

Japan is on firmer financial footing than Greece because most of its debt is held domestically and Kan's statements appeared designed to push forward his agenda, which may involve raising taxes.

In other economic news, at 9:55 am the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment index will be announced, with the consensus of Briefing.com economists expecting a slightly higher figure for June of 74.5 than last month's 73.6.

Finally, business inventories will be announced at 10 am, with a Briefing.com consensus forecast for a 0.5 percent rise for April, compared with an increase of 0.4 percent the month prior.

In March, the increase in sales drove the inventory-to-sales ratio down from 1.27 to 1.24, its lowest level in the history of the index.

There are no major corporate earnings results expected on Friday.

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BP.
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CAT
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4331
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INTC
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JPM MLP ETN
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NAV
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