NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were in negative territory on Wednesday as investors digested a mixed report on U.S. labor market conditions and awaited other economic reports to look for clues into the pace of the U.S. recovery and the Federal Reserve's next move on its stimulus program.
The ADP private payroll employment report showed that private sector employment rose by 135,000 in May. Even though it came in above a downwardly revised 113,000 increase for April, the number still missed the average analyst estimate of 165,000 for May.
"It is hard to tell whether the move away from a fresh session low for index futures is due to investors getting over the disappointing reading or simply going for the 'bad news is good' line," Andrew Wilkinson, the chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, wrote in a note. "As far as the tapering debate goes, the report does nothing to bolster expectations that the Fed will ease its foot off the pedal over the summer."
Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 6.5 points, or 5.13 points below fair value, to 1,624.75.Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) shares were down 0.81% to $445.69 in premarket trading. The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Tuesday that certain of Apple's iPod and iPad devices violated a patent held by rival Samsung. The victory for Samsung means a ban on imports of Apple's iPhone 4 and a variant of the iPad 2. Because the devices are assembled in China, the import ban would end Apple's ability to sell them in the U.S., The Associated Press reported. The ruling from the ITC could be vetoed by President Obama, who has 60 days to invalidate Tuesday's order. Apple said it would appeal the ruling. Joy Global (JOY - Get Report) was shedding 1.11% to $53.45 after the mining equipment maker was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" by Goldman Sachs analysts, who cited a softer outlook on aftermarket sales. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 52 points, or 39.54 points below fair value, to 15,127. Futures for the Nasdaq were slipping 12.5 points, or 10.69 points below fair value, to 2,962.25. Dallas Fed Bank President Richard Fisher reiterated during a speech on monetary policy in Toronto Tuesday his view that the Fed should curb its $85 billion a month bond-buying program, citing inflation and other risks for the economy. Fisher is not a voting member of the Fed this year. UnitedHealth (UNH - Get Report) was gaining 1% to $62.99 after the health insurer hiked its quarterly dividend by 32% to 28 cents a share and restored its share buyback program. Mattress Firm (MFRM - Get Report) was popping 6.07% to $39.84 after the mattress company beat first-quarter expectations by 2 cents at 38 cents a share and posted revenue that also exceeded estimates as it bought stores as well as opened new ones. The Census Bureau at 10 a.m. is predicted to say that factory orders rose 1.5% in April after falling 4% in March. Also at 10 a.m., the composite index from the ISM non-manufacturing survey is forecast to show a rise to 53.5 in May from 53.1 in April. The Fed's Beige Book analysis on regional economic activity will be released at 2 p.m. The DAX in Germany was falling 0.46%, while the FTSE in London was off 0.89%. The Hong Kong Hang closed down 0.97% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished off 3.26%. Oil for July delivery was rising 41 cents to $93.72 a barrel, while gold for August delivery was up 80 cents to $1,398 an ounce. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 9/32, lowering the yield to 2.121%. The dollar was down 0.2% to $82.60 according to the