US Markets

US stock futures slip after data has producer prices down in February


U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Friday after the government reported producers prices fell 0.1 percent last month, compared to expectations of a 0.2 percent gain.

Investors were likely to be cautious ahead of his weekend's referendum in Crimea. Sunday's vote, which looks likely to go ahead, will decide whether Crimea will become part of Russia. The referendum has been declared illegal by Western powers, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warning the Kremlin that the U.S. and European Union would impose sanctions against Russia on Monday if the referendum goes ahead.

"Yesterday what we saw was really a re-setting of risk...a re-setting for some sort of true Russia annexation and this crisis really heating up potentially beyond sanctions on Monday. Today I'd expect Treasurys to be bid a little bit," Mark Sebastian from Swan Wealth Investors told CNBC.

He added he expected to see some softening in the stock market on Friday. "I'm not sure the risk-reward is there this morning."

Kerry is meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday in a last-ditch attempt to defuse tension between Moscow and the West.

(Read more: Crimea referendum: Why it's so important)

On Thursday U.S. stocks saw big declines, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping over 200 points. Tensions in the Ukraine have dominated movements in global markets for the last fortnight. After coming within four points from its record close, the S&P 500 shed 21.86 points, or 1.2 percent.

On Friday, European shares continued the volatile week, trading lower ahead of the latest developments in Ukraine. The Euro Stoxx 600 Index was on course for its second consecutive weekly drop and the worst percentage loss seen since late January.

Russian stocks accelerated losses in morning trade with the MICEX seeing declines of around 2.7 percent. In Asia on Friday, Japan's' Nikkei slid 3.3 percent and fell by more than 500 points. It was on track for its worst week since August.

On top of tensions in eastern Europe, the Chinese growth story continues to weigh on stocks. The world's second-largest economy released weaker-than-expected February retail sales and industrial output figures on Thursday, fueling worries about the health of China's economy.

(Read more: Is China's slowdown actually good for the world?)

On the data front, the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment Index is released at 09:55 a.m. Eastern.

In a note, Capital Economics' Amna Asaf wrote, "The continuing run of unusually cold weather will probably take a toll on consumer sentiment in early March. However, equity prices are touching record highs, while gasoline prices and mortgage rates have remained low. Overall, we forecast the University of Michigan measure of consumer confidence to decline to 80.00, from 81.6."