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

A sign for Wall St. is shown outside the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, July 15, 2013 in New York. World stock markets wavered between gains and losses Wednesday July 17, 2013 as investors remained cautious ahead of testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan

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.