U.S. stocks were headed for a mixed open Friday, a day after plunging on fears of slow global growth ahead of Moody's downgrade of several major banks.
The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 futures were up about 0.2% Friday morning, down slightly from earlier levels, while Nasdaq futures pointed lower. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Investors may be feeling a little relief to get Moody's bank downgrades out of the way but worries about Europe's debt crisis persist.
The downgrades included five major U.S. banks -- Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Shares of Citi, Bank of America and JPMorgan gained more than 1% in premarket trading. Morgan Stanley rose more than 3% after it's rating was cut by two, rather than the feared three, notches.
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, said he's not surprised by the rebounds in major bank stocks in the wake of the downgrades.
"It was old news, and it was already discounted by the markets," he said of the move. "At this point, do rating agencies really make a difference?"
Meanwhile, worries about Spain persist after an independent audit, released Thursday, found that Spanish banks need up to €62 billion to restore stability to the country's financial sector.
And Germany, the healthiest and largest eurozone economy, may start to draw some attention. The German Ifo business confidence index fell to its lowest level in more than two years -- worse than expected.
The news comes one day after a purchasing managers index showed conditions deteriorating for the second month, with output declining at the fastest rate in three years.
CNNMoney's Fear & Greed index still showed fear but was moving ever closer to extreme fear, with a reading of 30 vs. Monday's reading of 38.
Cardillo said investors are likely to remain focused on Europe Friday. Leaders of Germany, France, Spain and Italy are in Rome, but few expect any kind of decision on the debt crisis to come from the meeting.
"Today we have the big four meeting in Rome. That could set the tone for some common ground entering into next week's EU summit," he said. "Until we have these fear factors subside, it's going to be tough going for markets."
U.S. stocks closed sharply down on Thursday, as investors fretted over slowing global growth and the impending Moody's downgrades. The Dow suffered its second worst day of the year.
World markets: European stocks slid in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.9%, as did the DAX in Germany, while France's CAC 40 fell 0.6%.
Most of the major European banks that were downgraded, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays and BNP Paribas, were all up less than 1% in their home markets Friday.
Asian markets ended in the red. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 1.4% and Japan's Nikkei edged lower 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite was closed for a holiday.
Economy: There are no major economic reports scheduled for Friday.
Companies: Shares of transportation company Ryder Systems slid nearly 9% after Thursday's close. The company lowered its earnings outlook for the second quarter and fiscal year 2012, citing declining demand for its commercial rental vehicles.
Shares of Darden Restaurants fell more than 3% in premarket trading after it reported earnings early Friday. While the operator of Red Lobster and Olive Gardens chains showed fourth quarter earnings that met forecasts, it warned than earnings and revenue in the current fiscal year will fall short of estimates from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Cruise line operator Carnival is also due to report results early Friday. Earnings there are expected to plunge 71% compared to a year ago, after ship line's wreck off the coast of Italy in January.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar edged higher against the euro and Japanese yen, but fell versus the British pound.
Oil for August delivery rose 42 cents to $78.62 a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery rose $4.50 to $1,570 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell slightly, pushing the yield up to 1.63% from 1.62% late Thursday.