US Markets

Futures lower as global growth concerns weigh

U.S. stock-index futures declined on Wednesday, amid declines in oil prices, as global stock indexes headed lower after disappointing manufacturing data from China.

WTI futures traded 2 percent lower just around $48 a barrel as of 9:12 a.m. ET.

China's official purchasing managers index (PMI) came in at 50.1 for May, steady on April's level and above a Reuters poll forecast for 50.0. However, the non-manufacturing component fell in May, showing slowing growth in services activity.

In addition, the Caixin China manufacturing PMI, which focuses on smaller companies, fell in May to 49.2, which was below expectations.

China manufacturing and services PMI fall in May

"The number released has not painted any encouraging or supportive picture at all," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkForex, said in a note on Wednesday.

"This has made investors more wary and the most worrying aspect is that this is coming at a time when bigger short bets have started to pile in against the Chinese equity market … No matter which data set you look at, they all point (to an) immensely feeble picture for the Chinese economy," he later added.

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve's Beige Book for May will be out on Wednesday, the ISM manufacturing index, construction spending and vehicle sales. The ADP employment report is due Thursday.

Indicators such as the ADP and Beige Book are in increased focus due to speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in June, earlier than previously expected.

3 things to watch in May auto sales

"The Beige Book continues to be the most comprehensive overview of U.S. economic activity and is above all a timely and useful antidote to financial markets' obsession with and over-interpretations of monthly statistics," Marc Ostwald, strategist at ADM Investor Services International in London, said in a note on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a large stimulus package to start this fall and delayed the country's long-awaited sales tax hike for a second time.

Investors are focused on crude oil prices ahead of the OPEC meeting on Thursday in Vienna. WTI slipped below $49 per barrel, having held above that level since topping $50 last week.

There is also the latest European Central Bank meeting on Thursday, at which the bank is expected to hold policy but possibly increase its inflation forecasts.

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Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct release date of the ADP employment report.