U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Friday, as investors eyed declines in overseas markets and weighed inflation data that could influence Federal Reserve policy on interest rates.
Major European stock indices were down about one percent or more, following a selloff in Chinese futures over news of coming government regulation to expand short-selling and limit over-the-counter margin trading.
"We know on Monday China has potential being down a lot," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group. "Greece is an issue again."
Focus for European markets has been on Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' visit to meet IMF officials, as investors become increasingly nervous about the funding crisis in Greece.
He noted that the selloff in U.S. index futures and European equities came within an hour after Chinese stock futures fell around 5 a.m. ET Friday morning. U.S. stocks are also near levels of resistance at the high end of the recent trading range of 2,040 and 2,120 on the S&P 500, he said.
"I think people should pay more attention to the inflation numbers," Boockvar said.
Futures held lower but above morning lows after the consumer price index showed an increase of 0.2 percent in March, below expectations of 0.3 percent.
However, the figure marked the second-straight month of gains and matched February's 0.2 percent gain.
Core CPI, excluding food and energy, came in slightly above expectations at 0.2 percent, the same level as in February.
A weaker number would have pushed back market expectations for a rate hike, analysts told CNBC Thursday. Currently, most Fed watchers see rate hikes beginning in September or later.
GE's adjusted earnings beat by a penny a share, but revenue came in light.
Other companies of interest that are reporting today include Synchrony Financial and Comerica.
In other news, the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are taking place in Washington D.C. and are being attended by central bank governors, finance ministers and government official