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U.S. futures fall on govt. shutdown, debt ceiling fears; Dow falls 0.6%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, as investors grew increasingly concerned over political wrangling in Washington.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.6%, S&P 500 futures signaled a decline of 0.75%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a drop of 0.55%.

Investors remained cautious as worries over the impact of a U.S. government shutdown continued after Congress failed to reach an agreement on a budget bill.

The shutdown was expected to delay economic data releases this week, including Friday's highly-anticipated non-farm payrolls report for September.

Later in the session, the U.S. was to release the ADP nonfarm payrolls report.

Markets were also mulling over how the political deadlock in Washington will impact on negotiations to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, which the U.S. Treasury Department has estimated will be reached by October 17.

Moody's Investors Service warned last month that a failure to raise the debt limit would result in a worse outcome for financial markets than a government shutdown.

Shares of Monsanto were expected to be active, with the world's largest seed company due to report earnings before the opening bell.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower as investors looked ahead to the outcome of the European Central Bank's latest policy meeting later in the day.

The EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.7%, France's CAC 40 added 0.75%, Germany's DAX tacked on 0.6%, while Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.2%.

Market players also continued to monitor political developments in Italy, with Prime Minister Enrico Letta due before parliament for a vote of confidence on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., data showed that activity in the U.K. construction sector slowed slightly in September, but remained close to August's almost six-year high.

The Markit U.K. construction purchasing managers' index ticked down to 58.9 in September from 59.1 in August. Economists had forecast a reading of 59.2.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.45%, Australia's ASX/200 Index ended 0.17% higher, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed down 2.17%.

Shares in Tokyo traded sharply lower as investors reacted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's sales-tax increase and stimulus plan announced after markets closed on Tuesday. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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.

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