U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious ahead of U.S. economic reports, as well as a fresh batch of first quarter earnings reports to be released later in the day.
Ahead of the open, the Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.06% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.10% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.16% loss.
Markets showed little reaction to data earlier showing that the preliminary reading of China’s HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 48.3 this month, up slightly from a final reading of 48.0 in March, but still below the 50 line separating expansion from contraction.
Tech stocks were expected to be active, after data compiled by Bloomberg showed that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) revenue is projected to be flat this year for the first time in at least a decade, while profit is estimated to decline 5%, making it the sixth consecutive period with little to no gains.
Separately, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), down 0.08% in after-hour trade, said its stake in the outcome of a $2 billion trial over smartphones using its Android operating system was revealed by testimony that the company indemnified Samsung Electronics against some of Apple's patent claims.
In earnings news, biotech company Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) reported lower-than-expected sales of its top drug. Although executives assured investors the drop was seasonal and they were on target to meet their 2014 projections, the company's shares plummeted 2.36% in extended trading.
In the same sector, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) surged 3.77% pre-market after saying that Sovaldi, the company’s $1,000-a-pill medicine to treat hepatitis C, had sales of $2.27 billion in the first quarter, beating analysts' estimates by more than $1 billion.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Boeing (NYSE:BA), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Dow Chemical (DCH1.DE), Omnicare (NYSE:OCR), F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV), Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN), Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), all scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.23%, France’s CAC 40 slid 0.35%, Germany's DAX slipped 0.23%, while Britain's FTSE 100 dipped 0.05%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.97%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 rallied 1.09%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish reports on new home sales and manufacturing activity.