Dow futures drop over 200 points as weak China data sets off alarm bells

U.S. stock futures were under pressure early Friday, as trade optimism continued to fizzle out and investors focused on a batch of weaker-than-expected economic data out of China, sparking fresh worries about the state of the world’s second-biggest economy.

How did the benchmarks fare?

Dow Jones Industrial Average

YMZ8, -1.23%

futures fell 253 points, or 1%, to 24,338, while S&P 500 futures

ESZ8, -1.21%

 dropped 25.90 points, or 1%, to 2,622.50. Nasdaq-100

NQZ8, -1.50%

 futures fell 86.75 points, or 1.3%, to 6,689.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.29%

 finished up 70.11 points, or 0.3%, 24,597.38, after rallying more than 200 points at the session high. The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.02%

edged down slightly to 2,650.54 and the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -0.39%

finished down 0.4%.

With one more session to go, the Dow is looking at a weekly gain of 0.9%, with the S&P 500 up 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite ahead of the pack, up 1.5%.

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What’s driving the market?

Fresh evidence that global trade tensions are hitting the world’s second-biggest economy emerged Friday, as China released data that showed both industrial output and retail sales for November missed economists’ forecasts. China’s National Bureau of Statistics data attempted to cool concerns, saying the economy “performed within the reasonable range.”

However, those words appeared to fall on deaf ears as investors continued to push aside trade optimism, and instead focused on collateral damage from the back and forth. Investors have been weighing several pieces of news over the past few days showing that trade tensions between the U.S. and China may be cooling, with optimism driving investors into equities.

What were analysts saying?

“Indeed, investors are right to be worried about global growth as China economy continues to sputter,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at Oanda, in a note to clients. “The data lend support to the market’s view that things will get worse in China before they get better, this despite investment rising.”

How were other markets trading?

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, -1.62%

dropped 1.6%, while the Nikkei 225 index

NIK, -2.02%

fell 2%, not helped after a cautious business outlook from big manufacturers in Japan. Europe stocks

SXXP, -1.35%

 were also seeped in red.

Crude

CLF9, -0.08%

prices were under pressure, with gold

GCG9, -0.37%

slipping and the U.S. dollar

DXY, +0.46%

 rising.

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