U.S. stock index futures were lower on Monday as shares fell globally following a surprise interest rate increase from China's central bank.

Trading volumes, already light for the holiday season, are expected to be even lighter as a winter blizzard moved across the northeastern United States on Monday, disrupting air and rail travel and forcing motorists to deal with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.

On Saturday, China's central bank raised interest rates for the second time in just over two months as it stepped up its battle to rein in stubbornly high inflation. The People's Bank of China said it will raise the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 5.81 percent and lift the benchmark deposit rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent.

S&P 500 futures fell 6.3 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 fell 40 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 7 points.

European stocks were down 0.8 percent in early trade, with thin volumes as UK markets remained closed, and as China's latest rate hike prompted investors to cash in a little portion of the strong gains made in December.

Auto stocks such as BMW and Daimler were down around 4 percent, surrendering some of their lofty gains made so far this year, as investors digested Beijing's new measures to limit new car registrations to tackle congestion in the country's capital.

U.S. stocks racked up a fourth straight week of gains on Thursday, as investors expected optimism about the economic recovery to support equities through year-end.

(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)