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US STOCKS-Futures inch lower ahead of unemployment, retail sales data

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(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.) 

  * Futures down: Dow 0.08%, S&P 0.13%, Nasdaq 0.21% 

  By Ambar Warrick 

  Sept 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell slightly on Thursday after a strong rally in the previous session, with investor focus shifting to upcoming data on jobless claims and retail sales for a better reading on the ongoing economic recovery. 

  Wall Street indexes marked strong gains on Wednesday, with economically sensitive cyclical stocks benefiting the most from a rally in oil prices and data suggesting that factory activity growth remained steady in the country. 

  Data also showed a dip in import prices, which coupled with a recent reading that showed consumer prices were slowing, implied that inflation had likely peaked and would fall to more manageable levels eventually. 

  But the stock market have struggled to hold on to record highs hit earlier this month due to seasonally weaker trends in September, as well as concerns that an economic recovery could lose steam towards the end of the year. 

  Focus is now on weekly jobless claims and August retail sales data, both of which are due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT). 

  S&P 500 E-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.13% at 06:22 am ET. Dow E-minis were down 28 points, or 0.08%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 32.75 points, or 0.21%. 

  U.S.-listed Chinese stocks extended losses in premarket trading, with Beijing's regulatory overhaul of gambling in Macau coming as the latest source of consternation for a sector already hurt by crackdowns on technology and education services. 

  U.S.-based casino operators Las Vegas Sands Corp, Wynn Resorts Ltd and MGM Resorts International also fell before the opening bell. 

  Among other movers, videogame publisher EA rose nearly 2%, as it maintained its guidance despite delaying the launch of its widely anticipated "Battlefield 2042" title by a month. 

  (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur) 

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