Stock index futures pointed to a seventh straight session of losses on Friday, their longest losing streak in four months, as fears about the euro zone's debt crisis overshadowed what appeared to be a buoyant start to the holiday shopping season.
Stocks were facing their worst week in two months and their second consecutive week of losses. The S&P 500 has fallen 4.4 percent this week and has given back almost two-thirds of its gains in October, the market's best month in 20 years.
Yields on Italy's debt approached recent highs that sparked a sell-off in world markets. Italy paid a record 6.5 percent to borrow money over six months on Friday, and its longer-term funding costs soared far above levels seen as sustainable for public finances, raising the pressure on Rome's new emergency government.
A European Union conference in Strasbourg produced little to ease the markets fears, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
What they agreed to was not bickering in public, he said. The markets are going to continue to pressure the EU until they come up with a solution that is going to ease the crisis.
For many investors that means the European Central Bank printing euros to buy larger amounts of European bonds and for Germany to accept the issuance of euro bonds. Germany currently opposes both of those options.
S&P 500 futures fell 9.4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 76 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures sank 15 points.
U.S. stock markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and will be open on Friday until 1 p.m. The day after Thanksgiving is typically one of the lightest trading volume days of the year.
Reinforcing what some see as recent signs of strength in the U.S. economy, shoppers stateside flocked to stores, which opened early to offer a jumpstart to Black Friday, the traditional beginning to the U.S. holiday shopping season.
European stocks <.FTEU3> fell 0.3 percent on Friday, losing ground for the ninth time in 10 sessions and were set to post their biggest weekly loss in two months, dragged by deepening worries over the euro zone debt crisis and the outlook for the global economy.
The euro fell 1 percent against the dollar to a fresh seven-week low.
U.S. apparel brand Gap Inc
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)