Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Monday, as downbeat Chinese gross domestic product data sparked fresh concerns over the outlook for global economic growth, while markets eyed the release of U.S. data later in the day.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.36% loss, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.46% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.57% decline.
Market sentiment weakened as official data showed that the Chinese economy expanded by 7.7% year-on-year in the three months to March, down from 7.9% in the fourth quarter and undershooting expectations for 8.0% growth.
Separate reports showed that Chinese industrial production also came in below expectations, while retail sales rose slightly more than forecast.
The data reinforced concerns over the outlook for global growth after data on Friday showed that U.S. retail sales fell 0.4% in March, the largest decline in nine months.
Auto stocks were expected to be active, after General Motors and Ford Motor, the two largest U.S. automakers, agreed to jointly develop a new line of nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions.
Commodity-linked stocks were also likely to be in focus, following the Chinese data and as gold tumbled nearly 5%.
In the biotech sector Thermo Fisher Scientific was reportedly nearing a deal to buy genetic testing equipment maker Life Technologies for close to USD13 billion, marking what would be one of the year's biggest corporate takeovers.
Shares in Life Technologies surged 5.43% in pre-market trade.
Elsewhere, Google slid 0.38% in early trading, after settling its two-year antitrust investigation by the European Commission by agreeing to legally binding changes to its search results.
Other stocks in focus included U.S. lender Citigroup, set to post first-quarter earnings before the opening bell.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were sharply lower. The EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.87%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.98%, Germany's DAX tumbled 0.99%, while Britain's FTSE 100 plummeted 1.15%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged 1.43%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index retreated 1.55%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on manufacturing activity in New York state.
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