US stock futures point to lower open ahead of holidays

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Friday as many traders are expected to be away from their desk for the Christmas holiday.

There are some economic data released today, including new home sales and consumer sentiment both due at 10 a.m. ET.

On Thursday, U.S. equities fell, as the Dow Jones industrial average failed to reach 20,000, a psychologically important level. Entering Friday, the blue-chips index was about 0.4 percent away from hitting the elusive mark.

In oil markets, Brent crude was around $54.43 a barrel on Friday, down 1.13 percent, while U.S. crude was at $52.32 a barrel, down 1.19 percent.

In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 0.02 percent lower on Friday morning.