Futures flat after last week's gains
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, August 1, 2011. Stocks turned negative after a strong opening on Monday as relief over a last-ditch debt deal in Washington faded after a weak reading on the manufacturing sector. Reuters

U.S. stock index futures point to a lower open Monday ahead of the publication of the Institute of Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.12 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.20 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.09 percent.

The Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing data for March will be released at 10 a.m. EST. The manufacturing PMI, which measures the relative level of business conditions, including employment, production, new orders, prices, supplier deliveries and inventories, is expected to increase to 54.5 in March, up from 54.2 in February. A level above 50 represents expansion in the industry.

“Regional manufacturing surveys for the month have been mixed, with the Empire State Manufacturing Survey declining slightly alongside a strong rebound in the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey. If our forecast is accurate, the ISM index would remain at its highest level since June 2011,” a note from Credit Agricole said.

The U.S. stock markets ended with gains Thursday as encouraging data on the U.S. economic recovery buoyed investor sentiment. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 large industrial stocks closed at a new high of 14,578.54, while the S&P 500 gained 0.41 percent or 6.34 points to set a record closing high of 1,569.19.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department showed that economic activity in the world’s largest economy grew at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in fourth quarter, better than its prior estimate of 0.1 percent growth.

Asian stock markets mostly ended lower Monday on a relatively quiet trading day as investor sentiment turned negative after Japanese corporate sentiments survey showed weaker-than-estimated conditions. European and some Asian markets including Hong Kong remained closed for the Easter holiday. The Japanese Nikkei plunged 2.12 percent and the Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.09 percent, while India’s BSE Sensex fell 0.04 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite gained 0.12 percent.

Sentiment was weighed down after the Bank of Japan’s quarterly Tankan survey showed that business sentiment among large manufacturers remained less-than-expected in the three months ending March. Large manufacturers' business sentiment improved to -8 in March from -12 recorded in the October-December Tankan survey but fell short of economists’ estimate of a reading of -7, suggesting that the weaker yen is yet to boost conditions for exporters in the world’s third largest economy.

Data released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing Friday showed that the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) advanced to a 11-month high of 50.9 in March from 50.1 in February but fell short Reuters' estimate of a solid uptick of 52.0. Meanwhile, the final reading of the HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) also came in weaker-than-expected. The PMI rose to 50.6 in March from February’s final reading of 50.4, but slightly missed analysts estimate of 51.7.