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RPT-US STOCKS-Futures dip with inflation in focus, Tesla gains on strong China sales

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* Futures down: Dow 0.4%, S&P 0.2%, Nasdaq 0.1%

June 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday as investors stepped back ahead of key inflation data later in the week, while Tesla gained on strong sales in China, a major market for the electric carmaker.

Tesla’s shares rose 2.6% in premarket trade after sales of its China-made electric vehicles surged 29% in May, data showed.

Major technology stocks were trading slightly lower, as investors digested the possible impact a global plan to increase taxes on major multinational firms.

Shares of Clover Health Investments Corp and other “meme stocks” surged as small-time individual investors piled into some of the most heavily shorted U.S. stocks.

Social media darlings AMC Entertainment and GameStop also extended their rally into a third week.

Still, Wall Street appeared to have fallen into a lull at the end of a strong earnings season, marking a slow start to the week on Monday.

Investors were now awaiting further cues on policy tapering from the Federal Reserve after what is expected to be a strong inflation reading on Thursday.

The U.S. economy is set for a sharp bounceback from a COVID-induced slump, with recent inflation data indicating as much. But the labor market- a key factor for the Fed to consider tapering policy - has stalled in its recovery.

The Fed’s monetary policy meeting next week is also expected to shed more light on its stance.

Private equity firm KKR & Co gained 1.2% after its unit, Independence Energy LLC, and Contango Oil & Gas Co said they will merge in an all-stock deal that would create an oil and gas company with an initial equity market capitalization of about $4.8 billion.

At 6:29 a.m. ET, U.S. E-minis stocks futures were down 0.24% at 4,215.5 points. Dow E-minis were down 140 points, or 0.4%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 8.75 points, or 0.06%. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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