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Futures dip, setting up U.S. markets for down week

NEW YORK Stock futures are heading lower, setting up a lower week for major U.S. markets after a raft of disappointing corporate earnings and more evidence that shoppers remain tightfisted.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 42 points to 15,410. The broader S&P futures have lost 5.2 points to 1,688.50. Nasdaq futures are down 4.75 points to 3,122.25.

Economic data suggesting that a six-month economic slowdown in China may be abating gave markets a lift Thursday. But that optimism began to fade as U.S. retail sales numbers for July revealed a slow start to the back-to-school shopping season.

Economists expect the Commerce Department to report Friday that U.S. stockpiles are being depleted, which would set the stage for stronger economic growth heading into fall.