Stock futures dropped on Friday as oil prices hovered near record highs and investors turned cautious before economic reports that could provide clues about the outlook for interest rates and profits.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan added to the jittery mood when he told BBC radio the risk of a recession has grown but was still less than 50/50.
We have oil hitting $83 a barrel overseas last night and that's weighing on the market, said Matt McCall, president of Penn Financial Group in Denver, Colorado.
U.S. crude for November delivery rose slightly in electronic trading to $82.92 a barrel and was in sight of its peak of $83.90 on September 20.
McCall said speeches by a number of Federal Reserve officials could give the market direction.
You may see people take some profits early on, this being the end of the quarter, and then you'd see some buying coming in later in the session, McCall said. Much of any profit-taking could affect tech shares, which had been leading the market's recent recovery.
S&P 500 futures dropped 4.1 points, but were above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 8 points.
Stocks to watch include diversified manufacturer 3M Co, which was started with a buy rating and a price target of $108 by UBS, according to theflyonthewall.com.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) measure of underlying inflation for August is due for release at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), while the Chicago purchasing managers' index (PMI) for September is due at 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT). Both reports could provide markets with the latest pieces in the monetary policy jigsaw.
The Reuters/University of Michigan's September final reading on consumer confidence is due at 10 a.m.
Fed speakers include Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart, scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on monetary policy and the economy, and Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Janet Yellen, who will participate in an economic conference at 10:15 a.m.
Greenspan made his remarks in an interview on BBC Radio 4.
Freddie Mac's Richard Syron told the Financial Times that the credit squeeze had left some parts of the U.S. housing market literally frozen.