US STOCKS Futures Gain After Europe Data; US Retail Sales On Tap

* Citigroup earnings due

* Retail sales, Empire State manufacturing on tap

* Futures up: Dow 35 pts, S&P 4.7 pts, Nasdaq 10.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures advanced o n Monday ahead of retail sales data, indicating the S&P 500 may climb after suffering its worst weekly decline of the year.

* The benchmark index fell 2 percent last week and has lost 2.7 percent over the past two weeks, its worst two-week slide since November, on increasing concerns about the euro zone debt crisis and weaker-than-expected domestic economic data.

* The Commerce Department releases March retail sales at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Economists expect a 0.3 percent rise in sales, compared with a 1.1 percent increase in February. Excluding automobiles, sales are expected to have risen 0.6 percent versus a 0.9 percent increase in February.

* On the earnings front, Citigroup will be in focus. Wall Street expects the bank will earn about $1.0 per share, unchanged from the year-ago period. Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, said first-quarter net income fell to $7.8 million, or 2 cents per share, from $16.6 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier. Mattel shares were down 6.2 percent to $32.01 in pre-market trading

* Also at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), the New York Federal Reserve releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for April. Economists expect a reading of 18.00, compared with 20.21 in March.

* The Commerce Dept issues business inventories data for February at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). The market expects a 0.6 percent rise, versus a 0.7 percent increase in January.

* S&P 500 futures rose 4.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 51 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 7.5 points.

* Jury selection in a high-stakes dispute over smartphone technology between Oracle Corp and Google Inc is set to begin on Mo nday morning, kicking off a trial in which both companies’ chief executives are set to take the stand.

* Russian state oil firm Rosneft and U.S. Exxon Mobil Corp will sign a wide-ranging strategic partnership later on Monday at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s residence, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

* European shares advanced, with a strong start to the U.S. earnings season helping them rebound after recent falls even as investors remained cautious about the outlook for Spain ahead of a bond auction this week.

* Asian shares and the euro fell on Monday as a surge in Spanish government bond yields renewed concerns about Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and undermined investor appetite for riskier assets.

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