U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors awaited a private-sector employment report and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book of regional economic conditions.

Investors may look to the ADP National Employment private sector survey for clues ahead of Friday's non-farm payrolls report.

Analysts expect the ADP survey to show the number of private-sector job losses shrinking to 155,000 from 203,000 in October.

Right now the biggest factor in the Christmas season is employment, said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

We've come back a long way, but the key also is the market is no longer just looking for steady and constant unemployment. They are looking for indications that hiring is at least beginning.

The Federal Reserve periodic Beige Book survey of regional U.S. economic conditions is scheduled for release at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT)

S&P 500 futures fell 0.4 points 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 7 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures lost 1.5 points.

Nokia , the world's largest cell-phone maker, said it expects handset market volumes to grow about 10 percent next year. For details, see U.S. listed shares fell 1 percent to $13.27 in premarket trading.

U.S. crude futures fell below $78 per barrel after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. crude stocks, raising doubts over demand recovery.

General Motors Co's board of directors fired Chief Executive Fritz Henderson on Tuesday, saying it wanted to chart a new course as the U.S. automaker pushes ahead with its restructuring.

European shares were little changed after notching their biggest one-day gain in 4-1/2 months in the previous session, with declines in financial stocks offsetting gains among drugmakers.

Asian stocks advanced as investors chased higher returns, confident that Dubai's debt woes will be contained.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial average closed at its highest level in 14 months as a weak dollar boosted shares of natural resource companies and economic data reinforced hopes for a sustainable recovery.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)