Stock futures fall ahead of manufacturing report

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stock futures are falling ahead of reports on retail sales, manufacturing and unemployment.

Economists forecast that manufacturing activity fell in August for the first time in more than two years. That’s a worrisome sign because manufacturing has been one of the strongest parts of the economy since the recession ended.

The Labor Department is also expected to report Thursday that 407,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week. That’s down from the previous week, but still above levels considered healthy.

Big retailers are also releasing August sales numbers.

About 90 minutes before the opening, Dow Jones industrial futures are down 19, or 0.1 percent, at 11,584. S&P 500 futures are down 3, or 0.3 percent, at 1,215. Nasdaq 100 futures are down 2, or 0.1 percent, at 2,239.