Stock index futures fell on Thursday as moderate Chinese manufacturing data fueled worries about the strength of global economic growth, a day after Wall Street ended its worst quarter since the market meltdown triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Global equities markets were pressured after the Chinese data showed moderation in the world's third-largest economy, but no precipitous drop that some investors feared.
Any bad news on the Chinese economy is going to weigh on the global market, and with the major indexes breaking their technical support levels, we will need to see some really good data today to reverse the current bearish trend, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
The day's economic calendar includes weekly jobless claims set for 8:30 a.m. EDT and U.S. pending home sales for May and the Institute for Supply Management's June manufacturing index, both due at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
Economists in a Reuters survey expected jobless claims to fall to 452,000 from 457,000 in the previous week. U.S. pending home sales were seen declining 12.5 percent from a 6 percent rise. The ISM manufacturing index was forecast a reading of 59.0 versus 59.7 in May.
June U.S. auto sales will come later Thursday.
S&P 500 futures lost 4.3 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 13 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 8 points.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 <.SPX> fell below the key 1,040 level held since February, falling from what chartists called a very bearish head and shoulders trend reversal pattern, pointing to a major retreat in coming months.
For the quarter ended Wednesday, stock suffered their worst losses since the market meltdown triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Corp.
Worries over Moody's placing Spain on review for a potential downgrade on Wednesday also kept markets pressured, but Madrid managed to sell 3.5 billion euros of five-year bonds at the top end of its target amount.
Tender results for short-term European Central Bank funds suggested euro zone banks were managing to repay emergency loans, lifting some market anxiety.
The six-day ECB funds, largely in line with expectations, helped the euro to hold gains after many had feared that some banks may desperate for funds.
Yahoo Inc gained 1.2 percent in extended trade Wednesday after the Internet and media group authorized a new $3 billion share buyback.
Hurricane Alex slowed BP Plc's clean-up and oil containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, even as a potential permanent fix for the leak remained weeks away. But BP's U.S.-traded shares were up 1.2 percent at $29.22 premarket.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)