US STOCKS-Wall St to open flat with eyes on energy prices
* Brent crude hits 26-month low on weak China data
* Futures: Dow flat, S&P down 1 pt, Nasdaq up 0.5 point
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Sept 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open little changed on Monday as traders gauged the effect of tumbling crude oil prices, with the energy sector falling but bullish outlooks for retail and other consumer stocks.
Brent crude oil fell to its lowest in more than two years, below $97 per barrel, weighed by a strong U.S. dollar and data showing China's factory output grew at the weakest pace in nearly six years in August.
A further decline in crude oil prices will likely weigh on stocks as the energy sector of the S&P 500 continues to struggle, down 8 percent from its record set 12 weeks ago.
"On one hand, it is negative for energy stocks but very positive for the consumer and for retail stocks," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey, about falling oil prices.
He said the trend could also help keep interest rates low for longer as it keeps a lid on inflation.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were down less than a point and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a slightly lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were unchanged and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added less than a point. Continuación...