Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a moderately lower open on Monday, as investors locked in gains after stocks rallied on Friday, boosted by an upbeat U.S. employment report.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.13% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.18% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.20% loss.
Data on Friday showed that the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs last month, well above expectations for an increase of 160,000. The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.7%, the lowest level since December 2008, from 7.9% in January.
The robust data added to speculation over an earlier-than-expected end to the Federal Reserve's easing program.
Pharmaceutical companies were likely to be in focus, following reports on Saturday showing that unexpected serious side effects arose in a huge study of a Merck & Co long-acting niacin drug aimed at raising good HDL cholesterol, possibly adding another nail to the coffin of niacin therapy for heart patients.
The telecom sector was also expected to be active, after the Times of India newspaper reported that AT&T is considering buying a 25% stake in India's Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, a telecommunications venture controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, for USD3.5 billion.
Among tech stocks, Apple was slated to move after Tim Cook dropped hints last week that, while the company is hard at work on a television to drive the next era of growth, its wristwatch-style device, still in development, may prove more profitable.
Other stocks in focus included Urban Outfitters, due to report results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to lower. The EURO STOXX 50 dropped 0.78%, France's CAC 40 slid 0.48%, Germany's DAX fell 0.34%, while Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.01%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was flat, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed 0.53%.
Also Monday, concerns over a possible slowdown in the world's second-largest economy weighed after data over the weekend showed that inflation in China hit a 10-month high in February, while industrial output and retail sales slowed.
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