Stock index futures fell from more than two-year highs on Friday, pointing to a slide at the open after a weaker-than-expected payrolls report indicated an economic recovery was still shaky.
U.S. employment barely grew in November and the jobless rate unexpectedly jumped to a seven-month high of 9.8 percent, the government said.
Recent data, including retail sales and other labor reports had raised optimism the recovery was accelerating after hitting a soft patch in the summer.
The payrolls number was so much below consensus, Wall Street is going to re-evaluate and go back to a slow recovery kind of mode, said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.
For the equities side, this weakness in the employment following better-looking retail sales favors caution.
With the latest labor market report, investors may be ready to pocket gains after the biggest two-day rally in three months, with the S&P 500 <.SPX> adding 3.5 percent, analysts said.
Economic conditions in the U.S. services sector as well as factory orders data are due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT).
S&P 500 futures dropped 7 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 64 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 14.75 points.
S&P futures earlier hit a session high at 1,227.30, their best since September 2008.
The S&P 500 <.SPX> closed at 1,221.53 on Thursday and faces strong technical resistance around 1,228, in the area of a recent high of more than two years and also the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the index's slide from October 2007 to March 2009, a key technical indicator.
Support for the benchmark kicks in at 1,200 and near 1,194, its 14-day moving average.
China will switch to a prudent monetary policy from a moderately loose stance, the Communist Party's top leaders decided Friday, a change that could pave the way for more interest rate increases and lending controls.
In company news, U.S.-based mining group Walter Energy Inc
European Union antitrust regulators have raided the offices of some pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca Plc
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)