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U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Friday, putting equities on track for their fifth straight monthly decline, as China's manufacturing shrank and stirred fears the global economy was slowing.
China's factory sector eased for a third consecutive month in September, suggesting that the world's second-largest economy is not immune to global headwinds, while factory inflation quickened.
"China might be having some kind of pullback, and in Europe we don't know how we'll swing with the sovereign debt issue," said Jeffrey Friedman, senior market strategist at MF Global in Chicago.
"There are concerns of a global slowdown, and we don't have any data to suggest we won't have a double-dip (recession). We won't be out of this trading range for a while."
The U.S. Commerce Department said real consumer spending was unchanged after rising 0.4 percent in July. Nominal spending was up 0.2 percent after increasing 0.7 percent in July. The increase last month was in line with economists' expectations.
Data later in the morning will give a picture of September U.S. consumer confidence and Midwest manufacturing.
The Institute of Supply Management-Chicago's September index of manufacturing activity is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT) and is expected to show a drop to 55.5 from August's 56.5. That would be the lowest level since November 2009.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers final September consumer sentiment index is expected at 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 57.8, flat with the early September figure.
The S&P 500 index has dropped more than 12 percent this quarter and 4.8 percent for the month, putting the benchmark index on pace for its worst quarterly performance since 2008 as the euro zone debt crisis and weakening economic data fuel concerns of a global slowdown.
As of Thursday's close, the Wilshire 5000 index is down 13.39 percent for the quarter, or approximately $2.2 trillion.
Market volatility is expected to remain high as traders react to European headlines and attempt to gauge the commitment of governments and institutions as they work to prevent a Greek default.
S&P 500 futures fell 14.5 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 101 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 22.5 points.
Ingersoll Rand Plc slumped 12.8 percent to $27.88 in premarket trades after the industrial conglomerate cut its third-quarter and full-year earnings forecast to below market estimates, pointing to lower-than-expected demand at its key North American residential and commercial security markets.
McGraw-Hill Companies Inc is in advanced talks to merge its S&P Indexes business with CME Group Inc's Dow Jones Indexes, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak, additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)