U.S. stock futures pointed to a moderately higher open on Wednesday, as markets eyed the release of U.S. economic reports later in the day, amid ongoing expectations for the Federal Reserve to scale back its stimulus program in the near future.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.11% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.05% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.13% increase.
Speculation over the future of the Fed''s stimulus program persisted after the Institute for Supply Management said Monday that manufacturing activity in the U.S. expanded at the fastest rate since April 2011 in November, fuelling optimism over the economic recovery.
Retailers were expected to be in focus, after J.C. Penney said sales at stores open at least a year rose 10%, sending shares surging 4.35% in pre-market trade.
Financial stocks were also likely to be active, as the European Commission imposed a EUR1.71 billion fine on some of the world''s largest banks for interest rate-rigging by traders.
The banks to be fined are Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, JPMorgan and Societe Generale.
In the tech sector, Apple was up 0.36% in early trading after UBS AG recommended purchasing its shares.
Separately, Microsoft said it’s selling every Xbox One player it can make, after introducing the new game console on November 22. Shares were still down 0.10% pre-market.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 slid 0.30%, France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.12%, Germany''s DAX eased 0.01%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 fell 0.20%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index declined 0.76%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plummeted 2.17%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, as well as data on new home sales and the trade balance. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management was to release its services PMI.
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