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U.S. stock-index futures sold off on Wednesday as traders grew more nervous about the debt situation in the eurozone and less confident that the Fed will take on another round of asset purchases.
As of 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slid 113 points to 13019, S&P 500 futures slumped 11.8 points to 1397 and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 21.3 points to 2758.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve released on Tuesday showed that "a few" members of the central bank's policy board thought additional economic stimulus measures would be necessary, dimming hopes that such an action would be imminent.
â€œAt first glance, the difference between â€˜2 out of 10â€™ and â€˜a fewâ€™ might not seem like much, but it is often on such nuances that the fate of global markets depends,â€� Chris Beauchamp a market analyst at London-based IG Index wrote in an e-mail.
A weak debt auction in Spain added to the gloomy sentiment on the day. The country sold $3.43 billion in bonds, which was at the very low end of its target. The average yield on the on the note that comes due in 2015 jumped by 0.45-percentage point to 2.89%, while the yield on the 2016 soared 0.943-percentage point to 4.319%, according to The Wall Street Journal. Higher yields make it more difficult for the country to grapple with its already sizeable debt burden.
The European Central Bank held its main interest rate steady at 1% on Wednesday as it looks to keep the eurozone's economy afloat while also keeping inflation risks in check. A press conference from the central bank's president, Mario Draghi is slated for later in the day.
The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks eurozone blue chips, sold off by 1.3%, while the euro dropped 0.66% to $1.3146. The dollar rose 0.15% against six world currencies that are tracked by the dollar index.
The markets will get several key reports on the U.S. economy on the day. Data from payroll processor ADP reveals the private sector added 209,000 jobs in March, more than the 200,000 expected. The report comes as economists have been growing increasingly optimistic about growth in the labor market. The Labor Department releases its monthly employment report on Friday.
Also on tap for Wednesday is the Institute for Supply Management's report on the services sector, which is forecast to show a lower rate of expansion in March than the month prior.
Commodities were mixed. Oil traded in New York fell $1.07, or 1%, to $102.94 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 26 cents, or 0.26%, to $3.40 a gallon.
In metals, gold plunged $45.90, or 2.8%, to $1,626 a troy ounce. Treasuries climbed after getting slammed in the previous session. The 10-year yield fell 0.033-percentage point to 2.27%.