U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday as policymakers warned Europe's debt crisis posed dangers to the global economy and on growing signs the contagion was starting to spread to larger European nations.
The European Central Bank bought euro zone government bonds to stop a selloff, traders said. Equities rose on the move but then lost ground as the yield on Italian 10-year bonds continued to hover near 7 percent.
The yield spread of 10-year French government bonds over their German equivalents widened to a euro-era high on fears the debt crisis was starting to move to economies that were until recently thought to be more isolated from the problems.
It is clear that they (Europe) have a severe liquidity crisis developing and it is becoming more and more clear that they are going into a severe recession, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
They have got to get their act together and resolve this issue or this recession is going to be worldwide.
Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said the crisis was already affecting emerging nations and Japan in multiple ways, while the Bank of England forecast Britain was on the brink of a contraction.
S&P 500 futures fell 11.2 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were off 83 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 12 points.
U.S. equity investors have been closely watching European sovereign debt prices and the euro currency, currently barometers of risk aversion for the wider market. Trading has been volatile, with large intraday swings as sentiment oscillates with developments is Europe.
Still, U.S. stocks have shown resilience, clinging to the top end of their recent trading range at around 1,250 on the S&P 500. Traders watched for a break below 1,230 as a potential warning sign.
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October's consumer price index is expected to show prices were flat in the month. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Industrial production is seen creeping up by 0.4 percent in October. That release is slated for 9:15 a.m. EST (14:15 GMT).
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)