In the absence of domestic indicators, U.S. stock markets look set to follow those in Asia and Europe, where bourses were significantly weaker, reportedly concerned about fresh slowdown fears in China even as Communist Party leaders are in the midst of the National People's Congress, a weeklong annual meeting to discuss reforms and the country's growth target for 2014.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.17 percent and futures on the S&P 500 were down 0.21 percent while those on the Nasdaq were down 0.24 percent. On Tuesday, the Dow fell 0.41 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.51 percent while the Nasdaq fell 0.63 percent.
"Worries are mainly coming from disappointing economic data and a weaker yuan, but of course, we're also watching whether there will be more bond defaults to come," Zhang Gang, an analyst with Central China Securities, told the Wall Street Journal, while Deng Wenyuan, an analyst with Soochow Securities, told the newspaper that certain types of stocks "tend to perform well in the lead up to the National People's Congress, but not during and after."
On the earnings front, Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) is among those scheduled to announce quarterly earnings before markets open. The U.S. Treasury's monthly budget will be released at 2 p.m. EDT.
In Europe, markets were significantly weaker following Asian markets, which dipped on concerns about growth fears in China. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 1.17 percent and the FTSE 100 was down 1.04 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 fell 1.4 percent while France's CAC-40 was down 1.42 percent.
In Asia, markets were mostly down with Japan’s Nikkei-225 plummeting 2.59 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.55 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.65 percent, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.17 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.6 percent while India’s BSE Sensex edged up 0.14 percent.