* Futures down: Dow 56 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 14.25 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures dipped on Monday, indicating the S&P 500 may retreat from a record high, as soft data in China and Japan stoked global growth concerns.
* Economic data showed China's exports rose at a slower than expected pace and imports dropped 6.7 percent in November, while Japan's economy shrank more than expected in the third quarter.
* The data put a damper on recent enthusiasm over the U.S. economy, after a strong payrolls report on Friday sent the S&P 500 to its 49th record close of the year. The benchmark S&P index has risen for seven weeks, its longest stretch in nearly a year, and is up more than 11 percent from an October low.
* Merck & Co Inc said it would buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc in a deal valued at $9.5 billion. Merck shares edged up 0.2 percent in light premarket trading while Cubist shares rose 34.5 percent to $99.98 before being halted.
* Energy shares may come under pressure on Monday as Brent crude fell to a new five-year low on predictions that oversupply would keep building until next year. The S&P energy index is down over 9 percent for the year, making it the only one of the 10 major S&P sectors in the red for the year.
* European shares were lower after the data from China and Japan. In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3 percent while Tokyo's Nikkei managed a slight gain.
Futures snapshot at 7:28 a.m. EST (1228 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 7 points, or 0.34 percent, with 94,582 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 14.25 points, or 0.33 percent, in volume of 18,232 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 56 points, or 0.31 percent, with 15,537 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)