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U.S. Stock Futures Decline Amid Reports of China Intervening in Trading, Blackout of Bloomberg Terminals

U.S. stock futures were sharply lower Friday, following the direction of European and Asian markets, as China regulators were reported to take action against margin trading and allowing for increased short-selling while Bloomberg Terminals experienced a worldwide blackout, preventing bankers from trading.

Bloomberg said service had been restored to most of its customers.

In economic data due Friday, the consumer-price index for March, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to have gained 0.2%, the same pace as in February. The consensus range is between 0.1% and 0.5%, according to data compiled by Econoday. At 10 a.m., the University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment index is expected at 95.0 in April, up from 93.0 in March, and in a consensus range between 92.0 and 100.0.

Also at 10 a.m., the Conference Board's index of leading indicators is expected to show an increase of 0.3% in March compared with a 0.2% gain in February. The consensus range is between an increase of 0.2% and 0.4%.

In equities, industrial giants' earnings were in focus, with General Electric ( GE ) reporting Q1 sales that missed estimates and Reynolds American ( RAI ) beating on both the top and bottom line in Q1. Honeywell ( HON ) reported mixed results, with sales weighed down by currency effects, but it raised the lower end of its FY EPS guidance range. GE slipped 0.3%, RAI was up 1.4% and HON eked out a 0.1% gain in recent trading before the market open.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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