Stocks were poised to drop at the open on Friday as the most recent flare-up in Greek negotiations for a financial bailout package put the S&P 500 on track to snap a three-day winning streak.
Workers in Greece went on strike to oppose fiscal reform measures requested by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, as Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the nation needs to reach a decision within days on accepting the terms of a bailout.
Stocks rose modestly on Thursday to push the S&P up 7.5 percent for the year after an apparent deal was reached between Greek parties on reforms, leaving equities primed for a pullback.
They want some binding resolution that some subsequent Greek government is going to be committed to enforcing, and I can understand the reticence of EU officials for wanting this, said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist, at Federated Investors, in New York.
Given the fact we've got a seven-percent rally in six weeks and a twenty-five percent rally in four months, it's perfectly reasonable that we should have a little bit of pause here.
European shares fell as the request for further cuts in Greece put the deal in jeopardy, with the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares down 1.1 percent.
Bank shares dropped on concerns over the latest stumbling block in the debt crisis. The STOXX Europe 600 euro zone Banking Index <.SX7E> fell 2.7 percent. Bank of America Corp
S&P 500 futures fell 12 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 lost 102 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 19 points.
Adding to the dour tone, China's imports fell in January, the most since the depths of the financial crisis, raising concerns demand may be wilting more than previously thought, even accounting for shutdowns over the Lunar New Year.
Data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed the monthly trade gap for December swelled to $48.8 billion as goods imports climbed to the highest level since July 2008.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers is due at 9:55 a.m. (1455 GMT). February's preliminary consumer sentiment index is expected to dip to 74.5 from 75.0 in the final January report.
Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba plans to take private its Hong Kong-listed unit, two sources familiar with the matter said, as part of a complex deal that would strengthen founder Jack Ma's control and give key stakeholder Yahoo
Arch Coal Inc
As earnings season moves into its final weeks, 339 companies in the S&P 500 have reported results through Thursday morning, with 63 percent topping analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, tracking below recent quarters through this stage of the earnings season.
(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)