U.S stock index futures held their losses Wednesday, as investors seemed to take a breather after a three-day rally that took the S&P 500 above 1,400, and following a report that showed productivity rose in the second quarter.
On the economic front, productivity rose 1.6 percent in the second quarter, according to the Labor Department, as companies expanded output but only modestly increased the hours worked by employees. Analysts had expected productivity to increase at a 1.3 percent rate.
The government also said productivity gained 0.7 percent last year, more than the initially estimated advance of 0.4 percent.
Stocks have rallied in the last few sessions amid growing expectations the ECB could act soon to help soothe the euro zone worries. European shares also declined, retreating from the four-month highs hit in the previous session and Spanish 10-year yields briefly crossed above 7 percent.
“As long as there’s no major blowup in Europe, [the market] will probably trot on here,” said Yra Harris of Praxis Trading on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “At least we can put to bed the ‘sell in May and go away’ crowd because we’re right back to where we were on April 30.”
Hewlett-Packard rallied sharply after the tech giant raised its third-quarter earnings guidance to $1 a share. Analysts had expected the company to earn between 94 cents a share and 97 cents a share.
Morgan Stanley slipped amid worries the bank may be under pressure to close its brokerage offices and lay off supporting staff, according to sources. Other banks including Citigroup and Bank of America were also lower.