* Fitch cuts Italy credit rating after election impasse
* China data show uneven economic recovery, policy dilemma
* S&P 500 less than 1 pct away from all-time closing high
* Futures: S&P off 2.5 pts; Dow off 12 pts, Nasdaq off 5.5
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures
edged lower on Monday following last week's strong rally as
Italy's credit downgrade and mixed data from China curbed
investors' appetite for risky assets.
* On Friday the S&P 500 climbed for a sixth straight day,
putting it less than 1 percent from an all-time closing high. On
a weekly basis, it rose for the ninth week out of the last 10.
All three major U.S. stock indexes racked up their biggest
weekly gains since the first week of the year.
* European shares dipped in morning trade as investors
digested a credit downgrade for Italy and on-going political
uncertainty in Rome.
* China's uneven economic recovery signals a looming dilemma
for policymakers as official data released at the weekend showed
inflation at a 10-month high in February while factory output
and consumer spending were weaker than forecast.
* S&P 500 futures fell 2.5 points and were below fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 12
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 5.5 points.
* M&A noise will remain at the forefront of investors minds,
with the Times of India newspaper reporting that AT&T Inc
is considering buying a 25 percent stake in India's Reliance Jio
Infocomm Ltd, a telecommunications venture controlled by
billionaire Mukesh Ambani, for $3.5 billion.
* Merck & Co will be in the spotlight after data
released on Saturday showed unexpected serious side effects
arose in a huge study of a long-acting niacin drug aimed at
raising good HDL cholesterol, possibly adding another nail to
the coffin of niacin therapy for heart patients.
* Wall Street commodity revenues crashed last year to their
lowest on record, as tighter regulation and limited price swings
squeezed the once dominant traders of Goldman Sachs Group Inc
, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley.
* U.S. stocks closed out a historic week with another day of
gains on Friday, as the Dow hit yet another record closing high
on a payrolls report that surpassed even the most optimistic