US futures fall sharply

New York - US stock index futures fell sharply on Thursday as European shares tumbled on growth concerns after weak data out of Italy and concern over the health of Portugal's top listed bank.

The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet. Credit: REUTERS

Many market participants have called for a pullback, with the steady S&P 500 yet to see a daily decline of 1 percent or more since April 10.

Shares of the bank fell 17.2 percent.

An index of European bank shares was down 2.8 percent.

US banks will likely fall on concerns over exposure to Europe.

Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 138 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 33 points.

The VIX last week hit its lowest level since early 2007.

The VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term exchange-traded note rose 8.2 percent in active trading.