Stock index futures fell on Thursday before U.S. data that could shed light on the impact of rising commodity prices and as concerns grew over Chinese inflation.
Risk appetite retreated on fears of a tighter money policy in China after a media report suggested the country's inflation figures will be higher than expected in March.
In addition, investors will be closely eyeing U.S. producer price index figures for March due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Producer prices are forecast to rise to 6.2 percent from 5.6 percent a year ago.
Investors were also cautious before corporate results because of the effect of supply chain disruptions arising from the earthquakes in Japan.
It's the cautious guidance from companies due to concerns about inflation and Japan that are going to weigh on investors, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
I see the market trading within the 3-4 percent range from the upper end to the lower end in this earnings season. I don't see it as a catalyst to move the market much higher.
S&P 500 futures fell 6.2 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 48 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 15.50 points.
In a frenzy to protect itself at the start of the credit crisis, Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Other U.S. government data includes weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey expect claims fell to 380,000 from 382,000 last week.
Commodities trader Glencore outlined its initial public offering of up to $12 billion, including plans for a May debut that will boost its firepower for acquisitions and make paper millionaires of its partners.
U.S. regulators are probing whether some major banks colluded to manipulate a global benchmark interest rate before and during the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
Italian car maker Fiat
Suppliers to Apple Inc
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)