Stock index futures fell on Friday after data showing a continued contraction in China stirred fears the global economy was slowing.

China's manufacturing sector eased for a third consecutive month in September, suggesting that the world's second-largest economy is not immune to global headwinds, while factory inflation quickened.

In the United States, the Commerce Department will release personal income and consumption data for August at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a rise of 0.1 percent in income and a 0.2 percent increase in spending. In July, income rose 0.3 percent and spending rose 0.8 percent, with a 1.0 percent rate in the preliminary (second) estimate.

The Institute of Supply Management-Chicago's September index of manufacturing activity is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. EDT and is expected to show a drop to 55.5 from August's 56.5.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers final September consumer sentiment index is expected at 9:55 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 57.8, flat with the early September figure.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has dropped more than 12 percent this quarter and is on track for its worst quarterly performance since 2008 as a euro zone debt crisis and weakening economic data fuel concerns of a global slowdown.

Market volatility is expected to remain high as traders react to European headlines and attempt to gauge the commitment of governments and institutions as they work to prevent a Greek default.

S&P 500 futures fell 14.3 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 119 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 17.25 points.

McGraw-Hill Companies Inc is in advanced talks to merge its S&P Indexes business with CME Group Inc's Dow Jones Indexes, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating accounting irregularities at Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges, said an official with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, suggesting criminal charges may be brought in addition to civil proceedings.

European shares extended losses and were on track to record their worst quarterly performance since late 2008 as fears mounted about a global economic slowdown. <.EU>

Asian equities also dropped, extending the worst monthly performance since the most volatile days of the global financial crisis in October 2008. Chinese shares racked up sharp losses as investors worried about a property market correction.

U.S. stocks mostly rose in a volatile session on Thursday as stronger-than-expected economic data and German approval of a beefed-up euro-zone crisis fund relieved two of the worst fears hanging over the market.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)