FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
U.S. stock-index futures fell solidly into negative territory on Wednesday after a key report showed the private sector added far fewer jobs than expected last month.
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As of 8:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 60 points to 13157, S&P 500 futures dipped 7.4 points to 1393 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 14 points to 2705.
Wednesday is set to be a busy one from an economic standpoint.
The private sector tacked on 119,000 jobs in April, far fewer than the 177,000 economists had expected, according to a report from payroll processor ADP. Servicing-based companies added 123,000 jobs, but that gain was offset by a loss of 4,000 among goods producers.
The data come ahead of the key employment report from the Labor Department on Friday. The jobs market has been improving, but the rate of growth came as a disappointment to forecasters last month. Additionally, the number of individuals applying for first-time jobless benefits has been creeping higher, causing some to worry of a slowdown in the sector.
Later in the morning, the Commerce Department releases its factory orders data for March, which is expected to show a 1.6% decline.
On the heels of an unexpectedly strong report on the U.S. manufacturing sector, traders were confronted with worrisome data from other major economies.
Factory output in the eurozone contracted at a quicker pace in April than in the month prior, according to a report from Markit. The report showed "steep and accelerating downturns" in Italy, Spain and Greece, economies that have been hit hard by the debt crisis. The 17-member currency bloc's biggest economic player, Germany, wasn't immune either, seeing its factory output hit 33-month low.
"With manufacturers typically conducting the majority of their trade within the euro area, austerity in deficit-fighting countries is having an increasing impact on demand across the region," Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson said in the report.
Several exchanges in Europe were down sharply on the day, with Spain's IBEX and Italy's MIB both falling more than 2%. The European Central Bank is set to release a monetary policy statement on Thursday. Analysts generally expect it to hold rates steady, but there are some who believe the central bank will cut rates in a bid to boost struggling economies in the currency bloc.
HSBC's China PMI gauge showed factory activity in the world's second-biggest economy contracted for the sixth month in a row in April, but at a slower pace than the month before.
Commodities markets were mixed. Crude oil traded in New York fell 46 cents, or 0.43%, to $105.70 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.08% to $2.10 a gallon.
In metals, gold slid $10.40, or 0.63%, to $1,652 a troy ounce.
PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) boosted its annual dividend to $2.15 a share from $2.06.
European blue chips fell 0.27%, the English FTSE 100 fell 0.69% to 5772 and the German DAX rose 0.1% to 6768.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 0.31% to 9380 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 1% to 21309.