PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower opening on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.45 percent, Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI - news) futures down 0.3 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.34 percent at 0918 GMT.
* Commodities led a sharp, broad decline in risk assets, with European stocks down 0.9 percent, as weaker-than-expected Chinese data added to concerns about the global economic outlook raised by U.S. numbers.
* Data showed China's economic recovery unexpectedly slowed in the first quarter, with the annual rate of growth easing back to 7.7 percent from the 7.9 percent of the previous quarter, while economists had forecast an 8.0 percent expansion. A recent surge in liquidity in the economy and an uptick in export growth had led many investors to anticipate a possible surprise on the upside.
* Gold extended early losses, tumbling to its lowest in two years and sinking towards support at $1,400 per ounce, as investors continued to liquidate positions after dramatic falls last week. Spot gold fell as much as 4.9 percent to $1,403.90 an ounce, its lowest since March 2011.
* Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (NYSE: TMO - news) is nearing a deal to buy genetic testing equipment maker Life Technologies Corp for close to $13 billion, according to four people familiar with the matter, in what would be one of the year's biggest corporate takeovers.
* General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F - news) , the two largest U.S. automakers, have agreed to jointly develop a new line of nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions to boost the fuel economy and performance of their lineup, the companies said on Monday.
* Federal Reserve policymakers went out of their way on Saturday to play down the risk that aggressive measures to bolster the U.S. economy would lead to inflation in the future, in a clear signal of support for its ongoing actions to spur growth.
* California's pension fund for teachers made official on Friday its plan to divest holdings in firearms companies whose weapons are illegal in the state. The California State Teachers' Retirement System will now sell holdings in two publicly traded gunmakers Sturm Ruger & Company Inc and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.
* U.S. stocks closed slightly lower on Friday, retreating from the previous session's record highs on a drop in financial shares, but major indexes still finished with the biggest weekly gains since the first week of the year.
* The Dow Jones industrial average was down just 0.08 points at 14,865.06. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.51 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,588.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.21 points, or 0.16 percent, at 3,294.95.