* China trade data weak
* McDonald's February same-restaurant sales fall
* Boeing finds cracks in wings of Dreamliners in production
* Futures down: Dow 28 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 1 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, March 10 U.S. stocks were set to open
slightly lower on Monday, on the heels of a record high for the
S&P 500, following unexpectedly weak data in China which
tempered enthusiasm over the strength of the global economy.
* China's exports unexpectedly tumbled 18.1 percent in
February, against expectations for a 6.8 percent rise, swinging
the trade balance into deficit and adding to fears of a slowdown
in the world's second-largest economy, despite the Lunar New
Year holidays being blamed for the slide.
* The data put a damper on positive sentiment generated by
Friday's better-than-expected U.S. payrolls report, which sent
the S&P 500 to a record high for a second consecutive
* Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold lost 1.4 percent to
$31.74 in premarket trade as concerns over China sent London
copper to an eight-month low.
* Sunday marked the five-year anniversary of the S&P's
12-year low of 676.53, when the U.S. economy suffered its worst
recession in seven decades.
* In a speech at the Bank of France, Philadelphia Fed
President Charles Plosser said severe winter weather likely
affected U.S. jobs growth in February, the latest U.S. central
banker to suggest that some weakness in the labor market was
only temporary, which suggested the Fed will stay on course in
winding down its stimulus measures.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures slipped 3 points and were
slightly 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
shed 28 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 1
* McDonald's Corp reported a bigger-than-expected
drop in comparable global sales at established restaurants for
February, with competition and bad weather battering U.S. sales.
* Boeing Co shares lost 1.2 percent to $127.06 in
premarket trading after the plane maker said on Friday that
"hairline cracks" had been discovered in the wings of about 40
787 Dreamliners that are in production, another setback for the
company's newest jet. Separately, the disappearance of a
Malaysian jetliner, a Boeing 777-200ER, is an "unprecedented
aviation mystery," a senior official said on Monday.
* The situation in Ukraine remained unsettled. Russia's
Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was outraged by lawlessness
in eastern Ukraine, blaming the far-right paramilitary movement
Right Sector for "conniving" with the new government in Kiev.
Germany's Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to President Vladimir
Putin on Sunday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed
referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia was illegal and
violated Ukraine's constitution.
* Chiquita Brands and Irish rival Fyffes, Europe's
largest distributor, have struck an all-stock merger deal to
create the world's biggest banana supplier. Chiquita shares
jumped 18.1 percent to $12.80 in premarket trade.
* United Rentals Inc, the world's largest equipment
rental company, said on Sunday it had agreed to acquire
privately held National Pump, the second-largest specialty pump
rental company in North America, for $780 million.