Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, 2012.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. REUTERS

The U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open Monday as trading volume is expected to be low ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.42 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.53 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.43 percent.

On Friday, the U.S. stocks fell as investor confidence turned negative amid reports that the Congress leaders are not reaching an agreement to finalize a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Meanwhile, according to the data released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income rose 0.6 percent in November up from 0.1 percent in October and personal spending rose 0.4 percent in November up from 0.1 percent fall in October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.91 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.94 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.96 percent.

Investors continue to focus on the US fiscal cliff. Market players are discouraged that President Barack Obama and the Congressional leaders are not making advances toward coming to an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, consisting of tax rises and spending cuts.

“The House Speaker John Boehner's inability to get his Plan B through a vote in the Republican-controlled House has demonstrated again that finding a deal that a majority is willing to support is a herculean task. A bipartisan deal could still pass the Republican-controlled House, however, if it had enough Democratic support to counter the opposition of the Tea Party sympathizing Republicans,” Capital Economics said in a note.

European markets gained marginally Monday amid quiet trading in shortened Christmas-eve session. London's FTSE 100 was up 5.43 points and France's CAC 40 gained 7.55 points. Germany's DAX 30 index rose 28.32 points

Asian markets rose marginally Monday as investors remained cautious with the Christmas period set to be quiet in terms of both economic data and political events. China’s Shanghai Composite gained 5.74 points, South Korea’s Kospi Composite rose 1.40 points and India’s Sensex was up 28.30 points.