Forex Pros – U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, as market sentiment was dented amid escalating violence in Bahrain and as the Japanese nuclear crisis worsened.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a loss of 0.09%, the S&P 500 futures pointed to a drop of 0.08%, while Nasdaq 100 futures implied a loss of 0.11%.
Earlier in the day, Bahraini security forces cracked down on anti-government protesters, clearing demonstrators from a central square that had become the symbol of an uprising by the island’s Shi’ite Muslim majority.
Elsewhere, Japanese authorities were attempting to contain the fallout from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
Meanwhile, shares in consumer electronics giant Apple shed 1.25% after the company said it would delay the launch of its iPad 2 tablet computer in Japan. Apple had planned to start selling the device in Japan on March 25.
Shares in chip manufacturer Rambus rallied 7.1% ahead of the open after the company said Toshiba renewed a five-year licensing with the company.
In earnings news, handbag manufacturer Vera Bradley jumped 6.7% in pre-market trade after the company reported fourth quarter earnings that topped market expectations.
However, teen retailer Pacific Sunwear of California saw shares plunge 8.4% ahead of the open after it projected a larger-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter. The stock has dropped nearly 21% this year through Tuesday’s close.
Other stocks in focus on Wednesday included Morton’s Restaurant Group, which said it was exploring the possibility of selling the company, as well as chip manufacturer Nvidia, which announced the resignation of its chief financial officer late Tuesday.
In Europe, the EURO STOXX 50 shed 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 slumped 0.25%, Germany’s DAX climbed 0.72%, while the FTSE 100 dipped 0.35%, as shares in the financial sector led losses after Moody’s downgraded Portugal’s bond ratings.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 0.1% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped 5.7%, rebounding from the biggest two-day decline since 1987 after the Bank of Japan pumped cash into markets for a third day in a row, bringing its total liquidity injection to JPY55.6 trillion yen since Monday.
Earlier in the day, official data showed that producer price inflation rose significantly more-than-expected in February, while a separate report said that building permits issued in February unexpectedly declined, while housing starts dropped more-than-expected.