Stock index futures slipped on Monday on jitters about the European debt crisis and with investors set to lock in profits after a strong market performance last week.
Euro zone finance ministers met amid pressure to increase the size of a 750 billion euro ($1,006 billion) safety net for debt-stricken members in hopes of halting potential contagion to other countries.
The euro fell, pressuring equities. Stocks and the euro have moved in tandem of late with the euro looked at as a proxy for debt concerns.
The U.S. showed you need to take extremely strong actions to overcome the threat of a broad financial crisis, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
The feeling was Europe has only gone about two-thirds of the way, and there was some hope they will go to a full throttle protection plan.
Investors also took in weekend comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He told the CBS television program 60 Minutes the Fed could end up increasing its commitment to buy $600 billion in U.S. government bonds if the economy fails to respond or unemployment stays too high.
Bernanke also said it would take four to five years for the country's unemployment rate to come down to what he called more normal levels of about 5 percent to 6 percent.
Listening to Bernanke, it was clear we're in no way out of the woods, said Meckler.
Quantitative easing has been a double-edged sword for equities as it has helped inflate asset prices but also signaled the recovery is still fragile.
A lot of the recent optimism was really too high and in part brought about by the recovery in stocks. Investors have to separate corporate profits, which drive stock prices, from the general economic scene, said Meckler.
S&P 500 futures dipped 3.2 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 lost 11 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 7 points.
Stocks closed their best week in a month on Friday, despite data showing tepid jobs growth. The S&P 500 rose 3 percent last week.
The S&P 500 faces strong technical resistance at about 1,228, near 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, which was recently a stubborn resistance point, and the top end of its recent trading range. The S&P closed at 1,224.71 on Friday.
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(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)