Futures Fall on Syria Worries, Weak Data

Markets Reuters

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U.S. stock-index futures fell on Wednesday as Wall Street fretted about a potential U.S.-led strike in Syria and a round of worrisome economic data. 

Today's Markets

As of 8:47 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 35 points to 14791, S&P 500 futures dipped 2.8 points to 1636 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2.8 points to 3089.

The month got off to a strong start Tuesday, with stocks initially rallying on the back of upbeat corporate news and data. However, those gains were dramatically pared as several key lawmakers backed President Barack Obama's push to strike Syria in response to chemical weapons use. 

Congress was expected to take the next steps to authorize the president's plan Wednesday, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expected to mark up a resolution calling for the strike at 11:30 a.m. ET. 

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"The persistent, if somewhat diminished concerns about a potential strike, may continue to drive market sentiment," analysts at Nomura told the Japan-based investment bank's clients. 

Traders also got a round of disappointing economic data. The U.S. trade deficit widened to $39.15 billion in July from $34.54 billion in June, considerably higher than estimates of $38.7 billion. The figure is a lagging indicator, but will impact third-quarter gross domestic product.

Later, at 2:00 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book. The report provides an anecdotal look at how the U.S. economy performed across the central bank's 12 districts. 

In Europe, a reading on eurozone GDP showed the 17-member currency bloc grew at an annual pace of 0.3% in the second quarter, matching a previous reading and estimates. However, a survey on the private sector for the month of August was revised down slightly. 

Meanwhile, Chrysler said its U.S. sales climbed 12% in August to a six-year high. 

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 67 cents, or 0.61%, to $107.88 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.43% to $2.852 a gallon. Gold slumped $8.10, or 0.57%, to $1,404 a troy ounce. 

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 dropped 0.74% to 2733, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.42% to 6441 and the German DAX slumped 0.65% to 8128. 

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.54% to 14054 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.31% to 22326.