U.S. futures slip lower, earnings ahead; Dow Jones down 0.22%

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, as markets awaited a fresh batch of fourth-quarter earnings reports later in the day.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.22% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.10% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.01% dip.

Market sentiment had improved on Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global economic growth. However, the IMF also warned that the pace of the recovery will remain "weak and uneven".


The IMF said it expects the global economy to grow by 3.7% in 2014, which in October it said would expand by 3.6% this year.

Investors still remained cautious amid expectations for a reduction to the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program at the outcome of its next policy meeting on January 29 to USD65 billion from the current USD75 billion.

Software companies were expected to be in focus, as International Business Machines plungd 3.25% in pre-market trade after citing "challenges" at its server unit. China's Lenovo Group is curently said to be in discussions to acquire IBM's low-end server business.

In addition, IBM reported a seventh straight quarterly sales decline amid plunging demand for servers, prompting top executives to forgo annual bonuses. Revenue dropped 5.5% to USD27.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

Online retailer Amazon.com was also likely to be active, amid reports the company has approached U.S. media companies to acquire rights for an online pay-television service. Amazon shares were up 0.03% in early trading.

Elsewhere, JetBlue Airways was slated to be in the spotlight, as the company was preparing for a second day of flight cancellations after a winter storm disrupted travel in New York, the heart of its operations.

Meanwhile, International Dairy Queen, the fast-food chain owned by Berkshire Hathaway, reportedly opened locations in Taiwan and Vietnam, in a move to expand beyond the U.S and Canada.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included United Technologies Corporation, US Bancorp, Northern Trust and Progressive Corporation, scheduled to report fourth-quarter results later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.22%, France's CAC 40 edged down 0.15%, Germany's DAX slid 0.35%, while Britain's FTSE 100 eased 0.09%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.21%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged up 0.16%.

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