(RTTNews) - After turning mixed over the course of the previous session, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 17 points.
Uncertainty about tomorrow's European Central Bank meeting may weigh on stocks along with caution ahead of Friday's monthly U.S. jobs report.
Bloomberg News recently reported that ECB President Mario Draghi's bond-buying proposal involves unlimited purchases of government debt but will refrain from setting a public cap on yields.
Traders have also reacted negatively to news that delivery giant FedEx (FDX) lowered its first quarter earnings guidance due to weakness in the global economy.
FedEx said it now expects first quarter earnings in the range of $1.37 to $1.43 per share compared to its original forecast for earnings of $1.45 to $1.60 per share.
The company said weakness in the global economy constrained revenue growth at FedEx Express more than expected in the earlier guidance.
On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing that U.S. labor productivity increased by much more than previously estimated in the second quarter.
The Labor Department said productivity increased by an upwardly revised 2.2 percent in the second quarter compared to the preliminary estimate for 1.6 percent growth. Economists had expected the rate of productivity growth to be revised to 1.9 percent.
With the upward revision, the productivity growth in the second quarter reflects an even more substantial turnaround from the 0.5 percent drop seen in the first quarter.
After coming under pressure in morning trading on Tuesday, stocks regained some ground over the course of the trading day. The markets eventually ended the session mixed on the heels of disappointing manufacturing data.
The major averages closed on opposite sides of the unchanged line, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing 8.10 points or 0.3 percent to 3,075.06, while the Dow fell 54.90 points or 0.4 percent to 13,035.94 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.64 points or 0.1 percent to 1,404.94.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region came under pressure during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed over the course of the trading session. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are edging up $0.14 to $95.44 a barrel after falling $1.17 to $95.30 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, gold futures are slipping $1 to $1,695 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal rose $8.40 to $1,696 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 78.43 yen compared to the 78.42 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2602 compared to yesterday's $1.2566.
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