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U.S. stock futures in the red ahead of retail-sales report, as oil tumbles

Will shoppers save stocks?

U.S. stock futures were in negative territory ahead of Friday’s open, as investors braced for a key update on retail sales against a backdrop of disappointing news in that sector and a fresh drop in oil prices.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMM6, -0.34% fell 63 points, or 0.4%, to 17,605, while futures for the S&P 500 SPM6, -0.31% were down 6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,053. Nasdaq-100 futures NQM6, -0.29% lost 14 points, or 0.3%, to 4,322.

The Dow industrials DJIA, +0.05% barely eked out a gain on Thursday, and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.02% finished flat. Equities were prevented from making gains largely due to a steep slide in Apple Inc. AAPL, -2.35% and other technology shares. A biotech selloff also weighed on the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.49%

The week has been muted for stocks. With one session left to go, the Dow industrials are down 0.1%, and the S&P 500 is up just 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite is flat.

“The lack of catalysts this week have left investors without any direction. I don’t think this is helped by a number of assets currently being at elevated levels, oil and U.S. equities to name just a couple,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in emailed comments.

The focus for Friday is split, with investors watching oil and waiting for important economic data.

Crude oil prices moved lower, with West Texas Intermediate CLM6, -0.99% down 1.5%, as...