April 2, 2019 / 11:29 AM / 7 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures take a breather, more data awaited

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* Futures: Dow flat, S&P up 0.03%, Nasdaq rises 0.02%

By Sruthi Shankar

April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Tuesday, pausing after a three-day surge on Wall Street as investors looked for more signs of strength in the economy in the backdrop of growth worries.

A surprise rebound in China's manufacturing data and better-than-expected U.S. numbers pushed the S&P 500 to near six-month highs on Monday. The benchmark index closed about 2% below a record closing high it hit in late September.

However, Wall Street's efforts to reclaim record levels have been hindered by trade uncertainties, the Federal Reserve's abrupt plans to end monetary policy tightening and a chaotic Brexit.

In a warning signal, carmaker Ford Motor Co is already spending tens of millions of euros to prepare for the possibility Britain could leave the European Union without a trade deal in place, its Europe chairman said.

World trade shrank by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is likely to grow by 2.6% this year, slower than the 3% growth in 2018 and below a previous forecast of 3.7%, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said.

The WTO said trade had been weighed down by new tariffs and retaliatory measures, weaker economic growth, volatility in financial markets and tighter monetary conditions in developed countries.

After a set of upbeat manufacturing data eased some of those worries on Monday, investors are awaiting more economic data to confirm the U.S. economy is on a strong footing.

A report from the U.S. Census Bureau, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is likely to show orders for core capital goods stayed flat in February, following a 0.8% rise in January. All eyes will be on the March employment numbers that are due on Friday.

Energy stocks will be in focus as oil hit a 2019 high above $69 a barrel on the prospect that more sanctions against Iran and further Venezuelan disruptions could deepen an OPEC-led supply cut.

At 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis remained unchanged. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1 point, or 0.03% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.02%.

DowDuPont Inc, which is splitting itself into three companies, was down 0.5% in premarket trading. Dow Inc is set to replace the stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from Tuesday.

Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc's shares were down 2.4% after falling below their IPO price in just its second day of trading on Monday. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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