US STOCKS-Futures pull back after advance as China data drags

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 10, 2012 12:20 hrs

* China data points to slowing economy

* AIG falls as U.S. Treasury to sell most of its stake

* Futures off: Dow 33 pts, S&P 3.2 pts, Nasdaq 5.75 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures dipped on Monday, indicating the S&P 500 may pull back from its best weekly performance since June after data in China increased worries over a slowing global economy.

Chinese imports fell 2.6 percent on the year in August, short of expectations for a 3.5 percent rise. Exports grew 2.7 percent, below forecasts for a 3 percent rise in a Reuters poll. The data increased the odds of more Beijing-backed spending to deal with the damage done to the domestic economy by firms cutting production, inventories and imports due to weak global demand.

Investors are expected to grapple with a host of events this week which could jolt markets, including the possibility of more stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve and a ruling by Germany's constitutional court on the legality of the euro zone's permanent financial rescue fund.

The benchmark S&P 500 index rose 2.3 percent last week, its biggest weekly gain in three months on increasing expectations for more stimulus measures, as a disappointing jobs report on Friday served to further boost those expectations.

"After a strong performance last week marking new highs, the market is pausing, looking for additional fuel to push us above 1,440, which is the next significant market level - whether the fuel is in the form of economic data or central bank-related, the market will look for a positive in it," said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York.

"It's almost a win-win situation - bad data will draw QE3, good data and we are on the path higher."

S&P 500 futures fell 3.2 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 lost 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 5.75 points.

American International Group Inc shed 1.6 percent to $33.16 after the U.S. Treasury Department said it will sell most of its stake in the insurer, making the government a minority investor for the first time since it rescued the company in the depths of the financial crisis four years ago.

Plains Exploration & Production Co said it will buy BP Plc's interests in some deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties for $5.5 billion.

European shares eased as falls in defensive stocks outweighed gains by miners, with the main index holding close to multi-month highs on hopes of stimulus measures from the U.S. and China following weak data.

Asian shares crept up with the soft Chinese data overshadowed by expectations for fresh stimulus from the Federal Reserve and for Europe to make progress in tackling its debt crisis.

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