The initial optimism over moves this week to keep Greece's debt crisis from spreading appeared to be ebbing on concerns the efforts won't be enough, and that plans to rein in national budgets could stifle growth.
The jitters took the euro to an 18-month low against the dollar, while gold hit record highs. Overseas, European shares <.FTEU3> fell nearly 2 percent.
Shares of credit card companies tumbled ahead of the opening bell, a day after the U.S. Senate voted to limit fees charged on credit and debit card transactions. Visa Inc lost 8.4 percent to $78.55, and MasterCard Inc shed 7.9 percent to $214.
Stock futures losses were trimmed after data showed sales rose more than expected in April, helped by a gain in vehicle purchases.
The overriding concern is still Europe, but (the retail data) is still good. Hopefully we can see the consumer come back. But with high employment, that's still a way off,' said Dan Cook, senior market analyst at IG Markets in Chicago.
S&P 500 futures fell 10 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 74 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 16.25 points.
The latest snapshot on the health of shoppers will come with May preliminary consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. EDT. A reading of 73.5 is expected, compared with 72.2 in the previous month, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
Outlooks from retailers did little to inspire confidence in the consumer. J.C. Penney Co Inc reported higher quarterly profit Friday, but gave a modest profit forecast, and its shares fell 2.2 percent to $27.56.
The Penney outlook came on the heels of other cautious views from department store operators Kohl's Corp and Nordstrom Inc . Nordstrom fell 3.1 percent to $40.
Shares of Nvidia Corp slid 5.9 percent to $13.79 a day after the graphics chipmaker forecast sales below Wall Street's target.
Other economic data will include April industrial production at 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT) and March business inventories at 10 a.m. EDT. Production is expected to rise 0.6 percent from 0.1 percent the month before, and business inventories are forecast to rise 0.4 percent, compared with 0.5 percent.
Stocks fell Thursday after downbeat comments about the economy from Cisco Systems Inc , the big maker of computer routers and switches, and Kohl's.
(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)