After showing a strong upward move in the previous session, stocks are likely to move back to the downside in early trading on Wednesday, as investors respond to a weak employment and await reports on construction spending, manufacturing, and pending home sales. Later, trading could be influenced by what comes out of the G20 summit in London.
The ADP Employment report for March showed that the private sector shed 742,000 jobs during the month of March, substantially worse than the 706,000 jobs lost in the previous month. Economists had been looking for a decline of 663,000 jobs for March.
A half hour after the opening bell the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its monthly report on construction spending for February. Analysts expected spending to fall 1.9 percent following a 3.3 percent decline in the previous month.
Additionally, the ISM Manufacturing Index for March and the National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales data for February are also due out at 10 AM ET.
The ISM index is expected to edge up to 36.0 from the previous reading of 35.8, while pending home sales are expected to come in unchanged after seeing a 7.7 percent drop in January.
Later, the G20 summit will kick off in London. Prior to the meeting, President Obama met with Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, and the presidents of China and Russia.
Obama, who wants member-states to pump more money into programs aimed at kick-starting their respective flagging economies, is expected to present a raft of proposals, including increased oversight for hedge funds and more powers to deal with troubled financial firms deemed too big to fail.
European Union President Mirek Topolanek recently described the U.S.'s gigantic stimulus approach as a road to hell, and several other European countries asserted they couldn't afford a huge stimulus effort.
France and Germany have said that greater regulation of the financial markets is the more pressing need.
On the corporate front, the big three auto-makers are expected to release March sales during the session, with sales for the industry as a whole expected to fall by 41 percent, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Stocks moved higher throughout much of the trading session on Tuesday, although the major averages gave back some ground going into the close. The strength in the markets came as traders used the weakness in the two previous sessions as a buying opportunity.
With the upward move seen in recent weeks, the major averages pared their losses for the first three months of the year, although they still closed lower for the quarter. While the Dow and the S&P 500 posted quarterly losses of 13.3 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively, the Nasdaq showed a more modest 3.1 percent decline for the quarter.
Crude oil futures are sliding $1.31 to $48.35 a barrel after advancing $1.25 to $49.66 a barrel in Tuesday's session. Meanwhile, gold futures are rising $5.60 to $930.60 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal rose $7.30 to $925 an ounce.
Among the currencies, the U.S. dollar is trading at 98.714 yen compared to the 98.98 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. The dollar is currently valued at $1.3264 versus the euro.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly higher, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advancing by 3 percent. However, the Australian and Hong Kong markets bucked the uptrend.
The major European markets are trading lower, with the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index moving down 1.2 and 1.0 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is declining 0.9 percent.
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