Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Friday after weak European economic data fanned concerns about the depth of the global recession and UBS cut its rating on global equities.
Investors were also cautious ahead of a slew of economic data, including a report on consumer inflation, a consumer sentiment survey, a report on manufacturing activity in New York state, and industrial output numbers.
Europe sank to what may be the recession's low point in the first quarter as gross domestic product fell 2.5 percent from the last quarter of 2008, both in the euro zone and the broader European Union block.
Although we are nowhere near the peak in unemployment, we can safely assume that the first quarter was the worst in terms of the pace of decline, said Martin van Vliet, an economist at ING bank.
Investors unloaded riskier assets, like stocks, as the data added to concerns about the global economy and as UBS lowered its rating on global stocks to neutral from overweight, citing the economy.
S&P 500 futures fell 4.9 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 shed 35 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures were off 9.50 points.
The S&P 500 is up 32 percent from a bear market low on March 9, but is down nearly 4 percent for the week as investors reassess the economic outlook.
Insurer shares rose after news that at least four U.S. insurers won approval on Thursday to tap billions of dollars through the government's bank bailout plan.
Shares in Hartford Financial Services Group Inc
Both U.S. Consumer Price Index figures for April and New York Federal Reserve Empire State Manufacturing Survey data are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Also on tap are the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers at 9:55 a.m., expected to give an insight into consumer confidence in May, and industrial output data for April at 9:15 a.m. EDT.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)