Stock index futures were little changed on Monday, with the S&P 500 facing a level where selling has clustered in recent sessions.
S&P 500 futures traded in a tight range below 1,333. The benchmark has been unable to close above that point since mid-February, although it was briefly pierced on Friday.
That level is double the 12-year low hit in March 2009 and is not far from the 1,344, the S&P's 2011 high and its highest since June 2008.
The lack of significant economic data on Monday, nuclear and other quake-related problems in Japan and unrest in Arab oil-producing states could translate in low volumes in Wall Street. Last week was the lowest in volume so far in 2011.
S&P 500 futures rose 3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dipped 4 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.5 points.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> hit 12,419.71, its highest intraday level since June 2008, before closing on Friday at 12,376.72.
Southwest Airlines Co shares dropped 5.7 percent in light premarket trading after a U.S. safety investigator said on Sunday evidence of widespread fuselage cracks was found on a jet that made an emergency landing in Arizona with a hole in the cabin.
Some nervousness over the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa continued to linger in financial markets, with Brent crude rising to a 2-1/2 year high above $119 on the worries.
In other company news, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange Inc are expected to face serious hurdles to their bid for NYSE Euronext .
Separately, Deutsche Boerse is holding off on making any decision as to whether to raise its rival offer for NYSE Euronext, two sources familiar with Deutsche Boerse's thinking said on Monday. Shares of NYSE Euronext dipped 1.5 percent in light premarket trading.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said on Sunday it had not struck a deal with BP to allow the oil company to resume deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, refuting a press report.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)