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U.S. futures edge higher ahead of jobs data; Dow Jones up 0.08%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock futures pointed to a moderately higher open on Wednesday, as investors awaited the release of U.S. jobs data later in the day, while concerns over the financial situation in the euro continued to weigh.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.08% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.14% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.12% rise.

Markets were jittery after data on Tuesday showed that the euro zone's manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 46.8 in March, from a final reading of 47.9 the previous month, still substantially below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

Separately, Reuters reported that international lenders have given Cyprus until 2018 to meet new budget targets, including freezing public sector pensions, raising taxes and hiking public sector fees.

The Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris resigned on Tuesday after wrapping up bailout talks with lenders.

Telecom stocks were expected to be active, after Verizon said it does not "currently have any intention" to merge with or buy its partner Vodafone, either alone or in conjunction with others, in response to Tuesday's Financial Times report.

However, the company said that it would still be a willing buyer of Vodafone's 45% share of their Verizon Wireless U.S. venture. Verizon shares dropped 0.48% in after-hour trade.

Pharmaceuticals were also likely to be in focus, amid reports at least three of the world's top drugmakers - Pfizer, Novartis and Abbott Laboratories - are bidding for Brazil's Ache Laboratorios Farmaceuticos in an auction that could value the group at more than USD5 billion

Also in M&A news, Thermo Fisher Scientific was said to be emerging as the lead contender in an auction for Life Technologies, a genetic testing maker.

Elsewhere, Tesla Motors plummeted 2.57% in early trading, after saying late Tuesday that it was partnering with Wells Fargoand U.S. Bank on a financing product that it says will make its pricey electric sedan accessible to more people.

Among retailers, J.C. Penney was set to be in focus, as Chief Executive Ron Johnson received total compensation of USD1.9 million in 2012, marking a sharp decline.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 slipped 0.27%, France's CAC 40 edged down 0.11%, Germany's DAX fell 0.12%, while Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.41.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.14%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.99%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the ADP nonfarm payrolls report, while the Institute of Supply Management was release a report on U.S. service sector activity. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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