Stock futures fell on Friday, weighed down by caution before key economic reports and news that Deutsche Bank had slashed its rating on shares of Dow component Citigroup Inc.
Investors, looking for a catalyst to mount a recovery after stocks' late-session reversal on Thursday, will scrutinize the September Producer Price Index to gauge how much room the Federal Reserve has to keep cutting interest rates.
In addition, investors will study a report on September retail sales for clues on how consumer spending is holding up amid the housing slump.
The caution tempered news of Oracle Corp's proposed $6.66 billion acquisition of business software maker BEA Systems Inc.
The Oracle news probably is very helpful to the market because it will probably help growth stocks, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management, Jersey City, New Jersey.
But it's the economic data that will have more importance on what people are thinking. When you see days like yesterday, people become concerned that multiples are going too far.
S&P 500 futures were down 3.6 points, but were above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average futures declined 22 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 5.5 points.
In addition, the Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary
report on consumer sentiment in October is due for release shortly after the market's open.
Shares of Citigroup declined 2 percent to $47.30 before the bell after CNBC television reported that Deutsche Bank had cut the stock to sell from buy. There were no details.
In earnings news, bellwether General Electric Co posted a quarterly profit that met Wall Street's estimates. GE's stock slipped 0.5 percent to $41.40 in trading before the opening bell.
Shares of software maker Oracle dropped 1.9 percent in Europe after the software company offered to buy BEA Systems for about $6.66 billion.
But BEA shares jumped above Oracle's $17 per share offer price, rising more than 30 percent to $17.75 in trading before the opening bell.
Late on Thursday Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank, announced a management shake up in which the head of trading, Thomas Maheras, is leaving the company.
U.S. stocks sank on Thursday, led by a drop of more than 1 percent in the Nasdaq.