U.S. stock index futures treaded water on Wednesday, as investors took a cautious stance ahead of a clutch of domestic economic data and another make-or-break parliamentary vote on Brexit, which could send a shock through global markets.
British lawmakers crushed Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union divorce deal on Tuesday, forcing parliament to decide within days whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay. Lawmakers will now vote at 3:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) on whether Britain should quit the world's biggest trading bloc without a deal, a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Tuesday after tame inflation data underscored the Federal Reserve's dovish stance on rate hikes, but the Dow ended down as Boeing Co's shares sank for a second day after one of its planes crashed in Ethiopia. Boeing was down more than 2 per cent in premarket trading on Wednesday after more countries grounded the company's best-selling line of jets following the crash.
On the trade front, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States and China may be in the final weeks of discussions to hammer out a deal to ease their tit-for-tat tariffs dispute. At 6:51 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.01 per cent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.14 per cent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.15 per cent.
Rite Aid Corp jumped 19.4 per cent after the drug store chain operator said its chief executive officer would exit as part of a revamp of its leadership and that it would slash about 400 jobs. A report on durable goods orders is expected to show a 0.5 per cent drop in January from a 1.2 per cent rise the month before, while Labor Department data is expected to show producer prices edged up 0.2 per cent in February from prior month's 0.1 per cent dip. Both sets of data are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
(With inputs from agencies.)