Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, as the release of disappointing Chinese service sector data weighed on market sentiment, while expectations for the Federal Reserve to soon begin tapering its stimulus program persisted ahead of U.S. data.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.53% decline, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.58% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.63% decline.
Markets were jittery after a government report showed that China's non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index inched down to 53.9 in June from 54.3 in May.
Meanwhile, investors were looking ahead to a string of U.S. economic reports later in the day, as well as Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, for further clues on when the Fed may decide to unwind its USD85 billion-a-month stimulus program.
Pharmaceutical companies were likely to be in focus, following reports Pfizer and Novartis may make preliminary bids for Onyx Pharmaceuticals.
On Sunday, Onyx turned down a roughly USD10 billion offer from Amgen. The company's shares dropped 0.52% in pre-market trade.
In the tech sector, Apple slid 0.42%, amid news the iPhone maker iring Paul Deneve, the former chief executive officer of luxury group Yves St Laurent, to work on special projects for CEO Tim Cook.
Elsewhere in company news, SoftBank's USD21.6 billion bid for mobile carrier Sprint Nextel won the support it needs from the last U.S. regulatory body reviewing the transaction. Sprint shares were down 0.56% in early trading.
Auto stocks were also expected to remain active, after General Motors reported strong sales last month.
Ford said the overall U.S. auto industry will report its best monthly sales rate since December 2007.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were sharply sower. The EURO STOXX 50 plunged 1.91%, France's CAC 40 plummeted 1.68%, Germany's DAX retreated 1.61%, while Britain's FTSE 100 tumbled 1.59%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dove 2.48%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid 0.39%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the ADP report on nonfarm payrolls, as well as the weekly government report on initial jobless claims one day ahead of schedule, and data on the trade balance.
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