U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited data on the labor market for clues ahead of a critical employment report and Greece took steps to meet fiscal targets.
The ADP Employment report for February is released at 8:15 a.m., and investors will look for any signals to the strength of the labor market. The data is expected to show U.S. private payrolls shed 20,000 jobs last month after losing 22,000 jobs in January, according to Reuters estimates.
Greece's cabinet on Wednesday decided to take extra austerity measures totaling $6.49 billion to ensure it reaches key fiscal goals this year, a government source said.
People have moved past it. Unless the situation there really reverses, the assumption is there will be a bailout of some sort, and the detail of it probably is not that significant to U.S. investors, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
There is some concern that if Greece does resolve, that the markets move on to other problems of nations in Europe, it is something that will stay with us for all of 2010.
At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management releases its February non-manufacturing index. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a reading of 51.0 versus 50.5 in January.
Later in the session, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book measuring economic activity across its 12 districts.
S&P 500 futures shed 0.7 point and were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dipped 13 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.5 points.
Merger activity remains on the upswing, as Pfizer Inc
Pfizer shares rose 1 percent to $17.77 in premarket trade.
Costco Wholesale Corp
President Barack Obama will usher in the last act of his push to overhaul the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system on Wednesday by arguing that his retooled plan, incorporating more ideas from rival Republicans, is essential to the good of the country.
European shares briefly turned positive, with gains in life insurers offsetting weaker oils, while sentiment improved on developments in Greece.
Commodity plays led Asian shares higher for a fourth consecutive session, while the euro extended its rebound as investors remained hopeful of a bailout package for debt-ridden Greece.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)