Stock were set for another negative open Friday, following a roller-coaster session for the major indexes on Thursday that saw the Dow swing more than 900 points from low to high.
The market successfully retested its lows, with the sharp rally coming quickly after the Dow fell below 8,000.
But the bad news for analysts was the intense volatility in the markets that raises concerns over whether the market can continue to dodge bullets.
"It would be nice to see this volatility really come down," Kate Schapiro, of Sentinel International Equity Fund, said on CNBC. "We're making these big moves on very low volume. Any change in sentiment just a little bit causes these big price swings. To get confidence to come back you have to have this volatility really come down."
But there was more bad corporate news that was tempering any enthusiasm that Thursday's rally helped generate.
Nokia shares helped lead the move lower after the company lowered its fourth-quarter guidance, sending shares down nearly 10 percent in premarket trading.
And Sun Microsystems said it would be laying off up to 6,000 workers, or 18 percent of its global staff, as a slump in the sale of high-end servers has hammered the company.
On the earnings front, JCPenny released numbers that beat analyst expectations, but like many other retailers issued downbeat guidance that warned of troubles ahead.
Morning tone could be dictated by comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who speaks at a conference in Frankfurt, Germany at 8:30 am New York time, along with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.
Investors will also sift through a flurry of economic data from 8:30 when October's retail sales and import price numbers are released. At 10 am September's business inventories and November's preliminary consumer sentiment numbers are out.
- Get pre-market data for all the Dow 30 components here >>>
Government responses to the financial crisis will also continue to have an effect on trading.
Ahead of the G20 economic summit, outgoing President George W. Bush defended the free market system, but acknowledged reforms were needed.
The proposed auto-industry bailout got backing from U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Thursday as he urged Congress to help the likes of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. But the money should not come from government's $700 billion bailout fund, Paulson said.
GM shares gained about 3.4 percent in premarket trading, while Ford was unchanged.
Pressure on Citigroup management mounted as the bank's shares slumped to their lowest level in 13 years on Thursday. One analyst told CNBC that Citi shares are set for more declines after falling below a "critical and vital" support level.
But the bank is expected to cut up to 10,000 jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported, and that news sent shares up more than 2 percent in premarket trading.
The Federal Reserve's role in the credit crisis will be the topic of discussion when Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto speaks in Cleveland, Ohio at 12:30 pm.