Stock Futures Turn Red Ahead of Sentiment Data

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Stock-index futures signaled the markets may open modestly to the downside as traders awaited an important report on consumer sentiment.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:50 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 33 points to 12502, S&P 500 futures slumped 2.1 points to 1321 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 4 points to 2532.

Market participants have been focused squarely on the unfolding debt situation in the eurozone for much of the week. However, with little in the way of news from across the Atlantic on the day so far, markets there "in a calmer mood," according to analysts at Barclays Capital.

Indeed, the Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks eurozone blue chips, was recently lower by 0.36% -- a minor fluctuation compared to the tumultuous moves made in recent days.

Analysts said they would be keeping a close eye on public opinion polls in Greece. Voters there will have to choose next month between parties that support austerity in exchange for critical bailout funds and ones that do not. The final tally is likely to seal Greece's future in the currency bloc, and could send shockwaves across global financial markets. So far, polls have shown a tight battle, with the radical-left Syriza party edging out the conservative New Democracy party, which supports the bailout.

On the U.S. front, a final reading on consumer sentiment for the month of May is on tap for 9:55 a.m. ET. Economists expect sentiment to have held steady from early May, bolstered by easing gasoline prices. The consumer sector is often seen as a key indicator of U.S. economic strength, so the data often impact the markets.

Commodities were mixed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 40 cents, or 0.43%, to $91.05 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.26% to $2.88 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $4.20, or 0.27%, to $1,564 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.24% to 2151, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.3% to 5334 and the German DAX rose 0.22% to 6330.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 224 tilted higher by 0.2% to 8580 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged up by 0.25% to 18713.