Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Friday as investors reassessed a recent surge that has March on track to see the biggest monthly percentage gain since 1974.
With developments out of Washington increasingly setting the direction for markets, U.S. President Barack Obama will grill top bankers on Friday about developments in the economy and their businesses as his administration seeks wider authority to regulate the financial system.
Bank shares were lower before the opening bell, with Bank of America
The recent rally has taken the broad S&P 500 index up 23.1 percent since it hit a 12-year low on March 9, although it is off 7.8 percent for the year so far. At the current pace, the S&P could have its biggest monthly gain in 35 years.
Gains on Thursday helped push the Nasdaq back up into positive territory year-to-date as investors continue to snatch up big-cap technology shares.
Although a bad winter in the market seems to be ending and spring is looming, the next hurdle to show up is going to be earnings, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey.
We're a little lower today probably because we've had a good run.
S&P 500 futures fell 9.10 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 slipped 51 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were off 13 points.
Shares of technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture
Obama is set to meet with leaders of the biggest U.S. banks at the White House later in the day.
On Thursday stocks rallied on increasing optimism that the worst days of the current economic downturn were over after the government reported data that was less dire than expected.
Analysts said that while recent data signals the economy is starting to show signs of life, the numbers remains gloomy, underscoring the headwinds still facing a recovery.
(Editing by James Dalgleish)