Remember the days when investors didn't worry about Europe's sovereign debt crisis and looked at economic indicators instead? As fears over an imminent Greek bankruptcy subside, signs of widespread weakness in global manufacturing are making investors cagey.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.1 per cent, and Germany's DAX was little changed.
Dow futures edged 0.1 per cent higher, while S&P 500 futures inched down 0.1 per cent.
Canadian stock markets were closed for the Canada Day holiday.
The U.S. ISM manufacturing index will be released at 10 a.m. (ET).
Figures showed China's manufacturing sector growing at its slowest pace in more than two years in June. Further downbeat news emerged in equivalent surveys for the euro zone, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Britain, India, South Korea and Taiwan.
The consensus in the markets is that the U.S. ISM's main index will drop to 52 in June from the previous month's 53.5, providing another sign of a faltering economy.
Commodities posted the largest quarterly loss since the 2008 financial crisis. The 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index finished the second quarter 6 per cent lower.
Corn prices plummeted after a report from the U.S. government which said stocks and sowing areas were both larger than market expectations. U.S. corn futures slid more than 6 percent to $5.81-1/2 (U.S.) a bushel, their lowest since the middle of March, taking the contract's two-day fall to about 10 per cent.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was trading at $9,428.50 a tonne from $9,430 on Thursday.
Spot gold hit a six-week low below $1,490 a troy ounce. U.S. crude oil prices were down 84 cents at $94.58 a barrel.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes yielded 3.15 per cent, down from 3.17 per cent at Thursday's close. The 30-year Treasury bond yielded 4.37 per cent, down from 4.38 per cent late on Thursday.
The MSCI World Index had dipped 0.5 percent in the April-June quarter, having lost steam after rallying 3.9 percent in January-March.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5 per cent to close at 9,868, while South Korea's Kospi index climbing 1.2 per cent to 2,126. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for a public holiday.
The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.4538, having touched a fresh three-week high of $1.4545 at one point.