US stock investors eye ADP, ISM reports

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to slightly lower start on Wednesday, as a record Wall Street finish on Tuesday fueled gains in Asian and European trade.

The day is a busy one for U.S. data. First out was the ADP report on private payrolls, showing sector employment is keeping up its recent pace in November, though the 208,000 new jobs was a shade below expectations.

U.S. nonfarm productivity grew a bit faster than initially thought in the third quarter, while sharp downward revisions to compensation pointed to muted wage inflation that should give the Federal Reserve room to keep interest rates low for a while.

Other data for Wednesday include the ISM services survey and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report on the economy.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Brown-Forman and Abercrombie & Fitch both reported disappointing quarterly results before Wall Street opened.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard will host a seminar on Wednesday on financial stability at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. Philly Fed President Charles Plosser will speak at the Charlotte Economics Club on monetary policy and the outlook for growth, inflation and employment.

Higher oil prices contributed to gains to gains in Asian and European trade on Wednesday. U.S. oil and Brent crude rebounded slightly after an extremely volatile week.

Sentiment was also boosted by data showing China's official non-manufacturing PMI figure rose to 53.9 in November, a touch higher than October's nine-month low of 53.8. However, business activity in the euro zone came in at a 16-month low last month, confirming fears the region's fledgling recovery is faltering.

Wires contributed to this report.