Stock Futures Slip as Germany, Greece Wrangle over Budget
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 27, 2012. Reuters

U.S. stock index futures point to a mixed open Monday ahead of the publication of the U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, from the Institute for Supply Management, or ISM.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.13 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.08 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.12 percent.

Earlier on Monday, a benchmark survey of factory activity around the euro zone showed the downturn eased for the first time in four months in May.

The euro zone’s manufacturing PMI, published by Markit, rose to a 15-month high of 48.3 in May from April’s 46.7 -- better than the earlier flash reading of 47.8. However, it remains in negative territory, having extended its slowdown streak to 22 months. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

European stocks plunged in early trading on Monday. London’s FTSE 100 was down 1.83 percent, Germany's DAX-30 declined 1.16 percent while France's CAC-40 fell 1.21 percent.

“Although the euro area manufacturing economy continued to contract in May, it is reassuring to see the rate of decline ease to such a marked extent. The sector still seems some way off stabilising, however, and therefore remains a drag on the economy,” Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, said in a release.

Germany, France, Italy and Spain -- the euro zone's four largest economies -- all beat expectations and signaled a weaker rate of contraction in May. Germany's PMI moved closer to the stabilization level, while Spain's reading surged to a two-year high of 48.1 in May.

“Despite the final PMI coming in above the flash reading, the surveys still suggests that GDP is likely to have fallen 0.2 percent in the second quarter, extending the region’s recession into a seventh successive quarter,” Williamson said.

Meanwhile, investors are expected to focus on the ISM’s manufacturing data for the month of May to be released at 10 a.m. EDT.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the manufacturing PMI -- that measures the relative level of business conditions, including employment, production, new orders, prices, supplier deliveries and inventories -- to decline to 49.7 in May from 50.7 in April. A level above 50 represents an expansion in the industry.

“Regional reports suggested a softer pace of manufacturing activity in May. Adjusted to the weighting scheme in the ISM report, the Empire State index of general business conditions declined to 49.3 in May from 50.2 in April and the Philly Fed index dropped to 45.8 from 46.1,” a note from Credit Agricole said.

Asian stock markets ended lower on Monday as conflicting manufacturing data out of China sent mixed signals about the country’s economic well being while a stronger yen weighed on Japanese exporters.

The Japanese Nikkei plunged 3.72 percent, while the Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.06 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite declined 0.57 percent, while India’s BSE Sensex was down 0.99 percent in late afternoon trade.