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updated: 9/1/2011 6:10 AM

U.S. stock-index futures retreat

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Bloomberg News

U.S. stock futures fell, indicating that the Standard & Poor's 500 Index may snap a four-day rally, as investors await a report that may show manufacturing in the world's largest economy shrank for the first time in two years.

Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, dropped 1 percent lower as metal prices fell in London. Bank of New York Mellon Corp. may be active after Robert P. Kelly stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer.

S&P 500 futures expiring in September lost 0.6 percent to 1,210.8 at 5:37 a.m. in New York. The benchmark measure had rallied 5.1 percent over the previous four trading days. Futures on the Dow Jones industrial average expiring the same month slid 49 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,554.

Stocks climbed Wednesday, capping the S&P 500's biggest eight-day gain since 2009, after reports showed that U.S. business activity and factory orders expanded at a faster pace than economists had forecast. The gains helped the S&P 500 pare its August decline to 5.7 percent, still the biggest monthly sell-off since May 2010.

A report due at 10 a.m. New York time today may show that U.S. manufacturing shrank last month, raising the risk that the slowing recovery may lose one of its biggest sources of strength, economists said.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index fell to 48.5 in August from 50.9 in July, according to the median economist estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The dividing line between expansion and contraction is 50, a level that the gauge last fell below in July 2009.

Elsewhere, U.K. manufacturing shrank the most in more than two years in August, while an Australian manufacturing index slumped to its lowest level in at least two years. In China, a measure of the manufacturing industry stayed near the borderline between expansion and contraction.

Alcoa lost 1 percent to $12.67 in German trading. Base metals fell, led by a retreat in copper, on concern that China's plan to tame inflation may hurt demand. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that a faltering global recovery and turbulence in financial markets have yet to convince his government to switch away from a focus on taming inflation.

BNY Mellon might move in New York trading after the world's biggest custody bank said Kelly stepped down as chairman and CEO after a dispute with directors over the way he ran the company. Kelly, 57, who had led the bank since 2007, left by "mutual agreement" with the board, the company said yesterday in a statement. His successor is Gerald L. Hassell, 59, who has been president of BNY Mellon since 1998.