Futures Point to Lower Open After Bernanke

Futures fell Wednesday as investors worried over Fed chairman Bernanke's view of the economy and technical market indicators that point to more weakness ahead.

Speaking at a banking conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, Bernanke said the U.S. economy had suffered a "loss of momentum" but that he still expected growth to pick up again, making a third round of quantitative easing unnecessary. Bernanke’s comments were endorsed by IMF Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, government officials and investors described the suggestion to allow a small U.S. debt default to force government spending cutsas a "horrible idea" which could destabilize the world economy and sour already tense relations with big creditors like China.

Also among Dow components, McDonald's slipped after the fast-food giant reported an increase in May same-store sales, but the gains were more modest than expected in the U.S.

Drugmaker Merck is to discontinue a major trial of a key vaccine from Intercelldesigned to protect against serious hospital infections, the Austrian biotech told Reuters on Wednesday.

Verizon edged higher after Oppenheimer upgraded the telecom giant to "outperform," saying the sector should benefit from cloud growth. Meanwhile, Cisco slipped after Berenberg Bank cut its price target on the tech bellwether to $14 from $16.50.

Citigroup agreed to sell a portfolio of private equity assets to AXA Private Equity for $1.7 billion, in an attempt by the banking giant to unload non-core assets.

Meanwhile, banks including Goldman Sachs , Bank of America , JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are among those that are considering layoffs as they struggle to rein in costs and produce profits in a weak market, according to the New York Post. The financial sector has been the poorest performer in 2011.

BJ's Wholesale gained following news that private equity firms Leonard Green and CVC Capital could make a joint buyout offer for the grocery store chain, valuing the company at about $2.8 billion, according to the New York Post.

Oil prices slippedas investors expect OPEC to increase the production target in response to high prices, which have weighed on global growth. U.S. light, sweet crude fell to near $98 a barrel while London Brent Crude declined around $116.

On the economic front, weekly mortgage applications eased in the previous week, although demand for refinancing improved as interest rates edged down, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Later today, the Federal Reserve will issue the Beige Book, a summary of economic conditions in the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2:00 pm ET.

European shares fellled by weakness in miners. Britain is at risk of losing its triple-A credit rating if growth remains weak and the government fails to meet its debt-cutting target, according to a senior analyst at Moody's.

Coming Up This Week:

WEDNESDAY: Quarterly services survey, oil inventories, 10-year Treasury note auction, Fed's Beige Book; Fed's Hoenig speaks; Caterpillar shareholder meeting.
THURSDAY: Bank of England announcement, European Central Bank announcement; international trade, jobless claims, wholesale trade, 30-year Treasury bond auction, money supply; Lubrizol shareholders vote on Berkshire takeover; Fed's Plosser speaks, Fed's Yellen speaks; earnings from National Semiconductor.
FRIDAY: Import & export prices, Treasury budget; earnings from Lululemon Athletica.

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