* 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 (Reuters) - 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 session.
* 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 point.
* 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.