U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Friday, as investors were poised to book a portion of their recent hefty gains ahead of key U.S. monthly jobs data.

* At 4:11 a.m. EDT, futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.5 percent, Dow Jones futures were down 0.5 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.4 percent.

* U.S. jobs figures were expected to show the recession-hit U.S. economy probably bled jobs at a rapid rate in March. Forecasters polled by Reuters expect nonfarm payrolls, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, to register a decline of 650,000 for March, similar to the 651,000 shed in February.

* European shares got off to a weak start on Friday as investors took a breather after pushing stocks up 10 percent over the past three sessions and looked to U.S. payroll data for signs the economic crisis was easing.

* In news that will lend support to tech stocks on Friday, shares of Research in Motion soared almost 22 percent after the BlackBerry smartphone maker posted better-than-expected results and gave a rosy outlook after the closing bell.

In extended-hours trading, Research in Motion's U.S.-listed stock shot up to $59.75. It had closed on Nasdaq at $49.09, up 7.6 percent. RIM's stock traded in Frankfurt was up 22 percent.

* On the M&A front, IBM cut its offer for Sun Microsystems Inc to $9.55 a share after a thorough vetting and may soon unveil details of its largest-ever takeover, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

* Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group <8306.T> is the frontrunner to buy Citigroup's Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial Securities in a deal that could be announced as early as May, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

* U.S. shares surged for a third consecutive session on Thursday as more data pointed to a stabilizing economy and changes to an accounting rule were seen as shoring up the volatile financial sector in the short term.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> jumped 216.48 points, or 2.79 percent, to 7,978.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 23.30 points, or 2.87 percent, to 834.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> leaped 51.03 points, or 3.29 percent, to 1,602.63.

* Thursday's rally helped the S&P 500 rise 23.3 percent from 12-year lows reached early last month and cut its year-to-date losses to around 7.6 percent, while the Dow traded above 8,000 for the first time since early February on an intraday basis.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)