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Market Update

U.S. Stock Index Weak Ahead of Data

U.S. stock index futures signaled a weak open for Wall Street equities Tuesday ahead of key economic data due today.

The S&P 500 Futures were up 1.70 points to 1350.8 points at 5.54 a.m. Eastern Time. The Nasdaq Futures gained 4.75 points to 2572.75 points.

The Commerce Department will be releasing the January retail sales data at 8:30 am Eastern Time. Analysts expect January retail sales to increase 088% as against a 0.1% rise in December. Core retail sales are expected to rise 0.6% in January as compared with a 0.2% drop in December.

Also in focus would be the business inventories data for December, due at 10:00 am. Analysts expect a rise of 0.4% as against 0.3% rise in the previous month.

The Labor Dept. also releases its import-export price data for January at 8:30 am. Analysts expect a 0.3% rise in both imports and exports. Import prices had dropped 0.1% in December while export prices declined 0.5%.

On the earnings front, companies expected to report earnings today include Avon, Host Hotels, Weight Watchers and Zynga.

Life insurance provider MetLife will also be reporting quarterly earnings today. Analysts expect profits to increase to $1.24 per share from $1.14 per share.