Futures Pause as Dow, S&P Sit at Record Highs

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U.S. stock-index futures were little changed on Wednesday as traders digested a mixed report on American private-sector employment.

Today's Markets

As of 8:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 1 points to 14586, S&P 500 futures climbed 0.75 point to 1566 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 2.8 points to 2816.

The Dow and broader S&P 500 both logged fresh closing higher on Tuesday as the 2013 rally rolled into the second quarter. A round of strong auto sales and an easing of tensions in Europe helped to keep the strong sentiment alive.

The focus is shifting back to the U.S. labor market. he ADP National Employment Report shows the U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in March, missing estimates of an increase of 200,000 jobs. February’s gain of 198,000 jobs was revised up by 39,000 to 237,000.

The all-important monthly jobs report from the Labor Department is on tap for Friday. The report is considered to be one of the best gauges of the overall economy and is very closely watched by the Federal Reserve. Indeed, signs of quicker, or slower, improvement could shift when the central bank begins paring back its vast asset purchase program, called quantitative easing.

Later, traders will get a look at how the services sector performed in March. The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing PMI is expected to have fallen to 55.8 from 56 for the month, indicating the rate of expansion is slowing down slightly for the key component of the U.S. economy.

In commodities, the benchmark U.S. crude oil contract dipped 46 cents, or 0.47%, to $96.73 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.93% to $3.0125 a gallon. In metals, gold fell $3.30, or 0.21%, to $1,573 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.76% to 2660, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.46% to 6461 and the German DAX slipped 0.21% to 7927.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 surged 3% to 12262 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged lower by 0.14% to 22337.