U.S. stock index futures edged down on Friday, as caution prevailed ahead of the release of U.S. non-farm payroll figures, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq down 0.1 to 0.2 percent by 4:42 a.m. ET.
* Economists expect U.S. non-farm payrolls, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, to show 175,000 new jobs created in December, the highest level since May, though the unemployment rate is seen edging down only slightly to 9.7 from 9.8 percent.
* Key jobs data report comes after 8 percent rise in the S&P 500 since the start of December.
* U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday, pressured by soft retail sales and a sharp rise in the dollar.
* Ben Bernanke delivers his first congressional testimony since the Federal Reserve launched a controversial bond-buying policy, and may put the brakes on some of Wall Street's optimism surrounding a recent rebound in key economic data.
* U.S. Republicans acknowledged on Thursday they will have to sign off on more deficit spending to avoid a debt default that could roil financial markets and bring the government to a grinding halt.
* In company news, Sara Lee Corp
* The Chinese securities regulator on Friday approved the local joint ventures of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co
* The Pentagon has overhauled the Lockheed Martin Corp
* The United States plans to cut $78 billion in defense spending over five years, including a reduction of up to 47,000 troops, in a politically contentious move that would trim the government's growing budget deficit.
* Three dry wells drilled by Murphy Oil Corp
* The board of bailed-out insurer American International Group
* In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares was down 0.3 percent in early trade, with investors cautious ahead of the widely-watched U.S. payrolls data.
(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Greg Mahlich)