U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly higher open Wednesday ahead of the publication of Automatic Data Processing’s (ADP) National Employment Report and the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.06 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.15 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 index were up 0.12 percent.
Investors are likely to focus on ADP’s National Employment Report, which measures the monthly change in non-farm private employment. The report will be released at 8:15 a.m. EDT. The ADP report, which is a precursor to the closely watched government employment report due at the end of the week, is expected to show that private payrolls increased by 200,000 jobs in March after gaining 198,000 jobs the previous month.
“Risk assets resumed their recent upward trend yesterday following some consolidation after the turn of the week," a note from Credit Agricole said. "Central bank meetings and the U.S. jobs report later this week will remain in focus while the U.S. ADP employment report will provide further clues to the performance of the official payroll data.”
Investors are also expected to focus on the ISM’s non-manufacturing PMI, which will be reported after the opening bell on Wednesday. The index, also known as the ISM Services PMI, which rates the relative level of business conditions, including employment, production, new orders, prices, supplier deliveries and inventories, is expected to fall to 55.8 in March, from 56.0 in February. A level above 50 represents expansion in the industry.
U.S. stock markets advanced on Tuesday as a rally in the health care sector pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to close to its record high. Strong reports on U.S. auto sales and factory orders also boosted the investor sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.61 percent to 14,662.01, the S&P 500 added 0.5 percent or 8.08 points to close at a record high of 1,570.25, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 percent.
Data released on Tuesday by the Commerce Department showed that factory orders, which measures the change in the total value of new purchase orders placed with manufacturers each month, jumped 3 percent in February following a 1 percent decline in the prior month.
European stock markets were trading lower with Germany's DAX30 down 0.18 percent and France's CAC 40 down 0.23 percent, and London's FTSE 100 fell 0.46 percent.
Asian stock markets mostly ended lower Wednesday as investors opted for caution ahead of central bank meetings and monthly U.S. payroll data to be released later this week. However, the Japanese Nikkei climbed 2.99 percent amid a weaker yen. The yen declined against the U.S. dollar as the Bank of Japan (BOJ) began its first policy meeting under new governor Haruhiko Kuroda. The BOJ is widely expected to enact fresh monetary easing measures to reflate the world’s third largest economy.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.11 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite declined 0.15 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.14 percent and India’s BSE Sensex slipped 0.32 percent.