By Victor Reklaitis and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Stock futures pulled back on Wednesday, indicating Wall Street could be setting up for another day of losses as investors took in a stronger-than-expected report on private-sector employment.
A separate report on new-home sales loomed.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. rose in premarket on upbeat sales numbers released late Tuesday, while shares of Express Inc. tumbled in the wake of disappointing Thanksgiving sales and a lowered outlook.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average index (DJZ3) were last down 24 points, or 0.2, to 15,867, while those for the S&P 500 index (SPZ3) fell 3.70 points, or 0.2%, to 1,787.70.
Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index (NDZ3) slipped 4.25 points, or 0.1%, to 3,471.50.
The November private-sector employment report from Automatic Data Processing showed employers added 215,000 last month, better than forecasts for 178,000.
Economists use ADP's data to get a feeling for the Labor Department's employment report, which will be released Friday and covers government jobs in addition to the private sector. Markets are searching jobs data this week for clues about when the Federal Reserve will deem the economy healthy enough to start tapering its massive asset-purchase program.
Also before Wednesday's open, the Commerce Department said the nation's trade deficit fell 5.4% to $40.6 billion in October, roughly matching expectations for a drop to $40.4 billion.
At 10 a.m. Eastern, reports on sales of new homes for both October and September will be released, as the government shutdown delayed data collection. Released at the same time, the Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing survey for November is expected to hold near 55%. Read a preview of all the data.
The Fed's Beige Book will be released at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Wall Street stocks fell on Tuesday on uncertainty over when the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its bond-buying program and on jitters about whether the market rally is overextended. The Dow industrials (DJI) finished down 94.15 points, or 0.6%, to 15,914.62, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 7 and the third-straight fall for that index. The S&P 500 (SPX) also logged its third-straight loss.
John Williams, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that the Fed should only taper when it is "completely confident" the economy is progressing on the right track.
"His comments further assured markets that the Fed should be extremely careful in their observation before they announce anything, although their wrapping up the ultra loose monetary policy could be unwrapped again," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade, in emailed comments.
On the corporate front, shares of J.C. Penney (JCP) gained 1% in premarket trade after the retailer posted a double-digit sales rise for November.
Shares of Express(EXPR) sank 19% in premarket trading. The apparel retailer cut its full-year view after Thanksgiving sales fell short of expectations.
Shares of OmniVision Technologies Inc.(OVTI) slid 12% in premarket after the digital-imaging sensor company's third-quarter outlook fell short of expectations late Tuesday.
In overseas markets, the Nikkei 225 dropped 2.2% as the Japanese yen rebounded against the dollar. European stocks traded lower.
Other must-read stories on MarketWatch:
Asian stocks drop as yen rebounds hurts Japan
Private-sector job gains hottest in a year: ADP
Look twice at most hated market in the world: Russia
-Victor Reklaitis; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
12-04-13 1114ETCopyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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