Stock futures moved lower as the ADP National Employment Report said the U.S. created fewer jobs in October than economists had expected.
Also pressuring stocks was a continued decline in crude oil, persistent worries over the U.S. presidential election, and a decision on interest rates from the Federal Reserve Wednesday afternoon.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.07%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.16%, and Nasdaq futures were down 0.02%.
The private sector added 147,000 jobs in October, according to the latest report from ADP. Consensus was for a stronger reading of 170,000. The official U.S. jobs report for October will be released on Friday. Economists anticipate 173,000 jobs to have been added to nonfarm payrolls in October, accelerating from 156,000 in September. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.9% from 5%, while average hourly earnings should climb to 0.3% from 0.2%.
Crude oil prices were sharply lower on Wednesday on fears a weekly reading on crude inventories would show a big jump. The American Petroleum Institute reported U.S. crude stockpiles grew by 9.3 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 28. Official data from the Energy Information Administration to be released mid-morning is expected to confirm this build. Prices were already under pressure on fading hopes major oil producers, including the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, would agree to a production freeze deal.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil declined 1.6% to $45.91 a barrel on Wednesday morning.
The Federal Open Market Committee will conclude its monetary policy meeting on Wednesday afternoon, but will not hold a press conference. The Fed's policy-making group is expected to stand pat on rates.
"The equity markets appear to be looking past this week's FOMC meeting, and instead are focusing on the U.S. election," Greg Woodard, senior analyst at Manning & Napier, told TheStreet. "Once the election passes, focus will likely shift to the December FOMC meeting, with consensus pricing in a more-likely-than-not decision by the Federal Reserve to raise rates by 25 bps."
Stocks suffered a dismal start to the month on Tuesday as conflicting polls bred uncertainty over the upcoming presidential election. An NBC/SurveyMonkey poll showed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's 6-point lead remained after concerns over her emails were raised again on Friday. A separate ABC poll showed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with a 1-point lead. U.S. voters will head to the polls on Nov. 8.
Time Warner (TWX) jumped 2% after breezing past third-quarter earnings estimates and exceeding sales forecasts. The media conglomerate earned an adjusted $1.83 a share, higher than consensus of $1.37. Revenue of $7.17 billion topped estimates of $7 billion. AT&T (T) announced last month its intent to acquire Time Warner.
Time Warner also raised its full-year 2016 earnings forecast, adjusted for some charges, to $5.45 to $5.55 a share from a previous $5.35 to $5.45 a share.
Gilead Services (GILD) was on watch after falling short of earnings estimates. The biotech company earned $2.75 a share, 11 cents below consensus. Revenue fell nearly 10% to $7.5 billion, inching just $50 million above estimates.
Yelp (YELP) increased 10% in premarket trading after posting surprise profit in its third quarter. The business reviews site reported net income of 2 cents a share compared to a net loss of 11 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings of 22 cents a share came in far better than estimates of a loss of 3 cents a share.
Alibaba (BABA) climbed nearly 4% after besting revenue and earnings estimates in its third quarter, a result the company said reflects its "increasing ability to monetize" its user base. The Chinese e-commerce site reported a 14% jump in annual active buyers to 439 million. Mobile monthly active users increased 30%. Total revenue jumped 55%.
Etsy (ETSY) climbed 1% after reporting a 33% surge in third-quarter revenue. Revenue increased to $87.6 million over the quarter, higher than an anticipated $86.8 million. The crafts marketplace also announced that its chief financial officer Kristina Salen had decided to leave the company in March. The search for a new CFO will begin immediately.
Square (SQ) narrowed its quarterly loss over its third quarter, besting analysts' estimates. The payments company reported a net loss of 9 cents a share, far narrower than 35 cents a year earlier. Consensus was for a net loss of 11 cents a share. Revenue also surpassed estimates.
Two-thirds of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this season. Of those that have reported, 71% have exceeded earnings estimates, while 53% have passed revenue forecasts. Third-quarter earnings are expected to grow 3.1%, according to Thomson Reuters, snapping the longest earnings recession since 2009.
Broadcom (AVGO) agreed to acquire Brocade Communications (BRCD) for $5.9 billion, or $12.75 a share. The all-cash deal will be funded with new debt financing and available cash. Brocade shares surged 9% in premarket trading.
Tesla (TSLA) said Tuesday that its deal to buy SolarCity (SCTY) , initially valued at $2.6 billion, is expected to add to its cash balance and contribute more than $1 billion to revenue in 2017. The company said in a Q&A session on Tuesday evening that it expects "SolarCity to add more than half a billion dollars in cash to Tesla's balance sheet over the next three years."