U.S. futures futures are down ahead of the open Tuesday after a weak performance in Europe on renewed bank stress test concerns.
The grimmer sentiment comes after a weeks where stocks surged on a four-session rally, boosted by better-than-expected jobs and manufacturing data last week.
"We're hoping for some follow-through from last week's positive momentum," Hank Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Investments, said on CNBC.
There is so much fear in the market that any better-than-expected news will have a positive effect, Smith added.
European shares were lower with banks leading the declines after the Wall Street Journal reported that the region's banking stress tests were not as comprehensive as they should have been. Asian stocks ended mostly in the red, but the Hong Kong market managed slight gains.
During the Labor Day break, President Barack Obama unveiled an initial $50 billion investment package to backstop job creation over the next six years, with projects for improving roads, railways and airport runways. Obama is expected to announce further measures during the week in a bid to boost confidence in the economic recovery ahead of the mid-term elections.
Banks are in focus Tuesday on several fronts. Barclays said the head of its investment bank, Bob Diamond, would be its next chief executive. Diamond's new annual salary will be around $2.07 million and he will have an annual bonus of up to two-and-a-half times the salary.
Also HSBC Holdings Chairman Stephen Green is stepping down to become U.K. Trade Minister of State for Trade and Investment, a post vacant since last May. Green's replacement has not been named.
Meanwhile, Oracle said it hired the former chief executive ofHewlett-Packard , Mark Hurd, to replace Charles Phillips.
And The U.S. Justice department is examining whether Google would have too much influence in online travel with the purchase of ITA Software, an airline ticketing software firm, The Wall Street Journal reproted. Google bought ITA Software for $700 million in July.
In merger news, Air Products boosted its hostile, all-cash offer for for Airgas to $65.50 a share, a $5.5 billion deal. On Sept. 15, Airgas will vote on 3 director slots up for election on 9-member board.