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US stock futures fall lower as investors sit tight, Gap shares plunge

US stock futures dipped lower on Friday following a week of mixed economic data, and a flood of mostly positive first quarter earnings reports, with a few weaker-than-expected results from clothing retailers out after the bell yesterday.

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US stock futures dipped lower on Friday following a week of mixed economic data, and a flood of mostly positive first quarter earnings reports, with a few weaker-than-expected results from clothing retailers out after the bell yesterday.

As of 8:44am EST, futures on the Dow were down 37.00 points, or 0.29% to 12,554.00, while the S&P 500 fell 0.27% to 1,338.10. Futures on the Nasdaq dropped 7.25 points, or 0.31%, to 2,361.75.

In the US on Thursday, jobless claims were down, but sales of previously owned homes continued their decline in April. Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in San Francisco remarked that the rate of growth continues to be slow.

Investors are now just waiting for more clues on the status of the US economy.

Yesterday, LinkedIn’s (NYSE:LNKD) stock rocketed over 100% in its IPO from $45- the high end of its recently raised range. The professional networking site now sports a market cap of over $10 billion. LinkedIn is the first of what many see as a wave of social networking IPOs in the pipeline. The IPO’s robust performance may provide validation to the high valuations of private companies and encourage them to go public.

Glencore International PLC shares also rose upon its initial trading yesterday, rising to 547 pence from an initial pricing of 530 pence. The $11 billion raised makes it the biggest IPO ever in the mining industry, as well as in Britain. The natural resource trading conglomerate is now valued at about $59 billion.

Later on Thursday, media and entertainment conglomerate Liberty Media (NASDAQ: LCAPA, LCAPB, LINTA, LINTB, LSTZA, LSTZB) offered to buy New York-based Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) for $1 billion. The book seller's shares rocketed more than 30% in pre-market trading on Friday to well above the offer price of $17 per share - suggesting investors believe there are better offers in the cards.

Meanwhile, apparel retailer Gap (NYSE:GPS) released its first quarter results after the bell yesterday, reporting a 23% drop in profit on account of increased costs and weak demand across its three chains, including its namesake stores, Old Navy and Banana Republic. Comparable sales fell 3%, and the retailer said they would have declined further had it not been for the gain from online sales. The company, which cut its full year profit outlook, was also hit by lower sales due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Shares were down more than 18% in premarket trading.

Clothing seller Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) also reported weaker-than-expected results on Thursday, as it said first quarter net income fell 64% as sales and margins dropped, prompting a more than 14% drop in its share price before-hours trading on Friday. Looking ahead, the company forecasted earnings of 11 cents to 16 cents per share in the second quarter, far below the analyst estimate of 27 cents a share.

BP (NYSE:BP) shares were higher in trading before the bell today, as the oil company said that Moex Offshore, one  of its minority partners in the Macondo well involved in last year's Deepwater Horizon spill, has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle claims between the two companies relating to the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

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