U.S. stock futures were sharply lower Friday, following the direction of European and Asian markets, as China regulators were reported to take action against margin trading and allowing for increased short-selling while Bloomberg Terminals experienced a worldwide blackout, preventing bankers from trading.
Bloomberg said service had been restored to most of its customers.
In economic data due Friday, the consumer-price index for March, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to have gained 0.2%, the same pace as in February. The consensus range is between 0.1% and 0.5%, according to data compiled by Econoday. At 10 a.m., the University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment index is expected at 95.0 in April, up from 93.0 in March, and in a consensus range between 92.0 and 100.0.
Also at 10 a.m., the Conference Board's index of leading indicators is expected to show an increase of 0.3% in March compared with a 0.2% gain in February. The consensus range is between an increase of 0.2% and 0.4%.
In equities, industrial giants' earnings were in focus, with General Electric ( GE ) reporting Q1 sales that missed estimates and Reynolds American ( RAI ) beating on both the top and bottom line in Q1. Honeywell ( HON ) reported mixed results, with sales weighed down by currency effects, but it raised the lower end of its FY EPS guidance range. GE slipped 0.3%, RAI was up 1.4% and HON eked out a 0.1% gain in recent trading before the market open.
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