Futures added to losses Wednesday following a weaker-than-expected Empire state manufacturing survey and amid worries over a new aid for Greece resurfaced after the euro zone finance ministers failed to forge a deal.
Euro zone ministers will meet again next week to find an agreement, with the voluntary involvement of private investors the main sticking point.
On the economic front, the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in May, down from April's 0.4 recent increase, according to the Labor Department. Food costs rose 0.4 percent, while energy costs fell 1 percent, the first drop in almost a year.
Meanwhile, a gauge of manufacturing in New York State showed the sector unexpectedly contracted in June, falling to minus 7.79 for the first time since November 2010 from positive 11.88 in the month before, in another sign the economic slowdown could become more protracted, according to the New York Federal Reserve. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a gain to 12.50.
“Futures are concentrating more on the Empire state survey,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association.
“Given that the overall momentum has been positive—anemic, but positive—the pause that we’re seeing is more likely from the supply chain interruptions from Japan, as opposed to the reversal in the momentum in the economy.”
In addition, Hampel said while Greece’s crisis is also pressuring stocks, he eventually expects a resolution for the debt-ridden nation.
Traders were turning to the U.S. dollar as a safe haven, boosting the greenback against a basket of global currencies. Oil prices declinedamid the rising dollar and as doubts grew over the outlook for fuel demand. U.S. light, sweet crude slipped below $99 a barrel, while London Brent crude fell to near $118. Weekly crude inventories is scheduled to reported at 10:30 am ET.
Nokia shares tumbled in premarket trading, giving back most the gains the company realized Tuesday on news that it had settled long-standing patent disputes with Apple.
JC Penney backtracked after rallying Tuesday after an announcement that it had hired former Apple executive Ron Johnson to take over as CEO of the department store chain.