U.S. stock futures mostly lower as focus turns to Fed minutes


    U.S. stock futures pointed to a mostly lower open on Wednesday morning, as traders returning from holiday awaited the release of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes.

    The blue-chip Dow futures inched down 2 points by 6:40AM ET (1040GMT), the S&P 500 futures dipped 1 point, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures lost 13 points, or roughly 0.2%.

    U.S. equities remained shut on Tuesday for the July 4 Independence Day celebrations.

    The Fed will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting at 2:00PM ET (1800GMT), as investors search for more clues on how committed the central bank is to hiking rates again this year. They are also looking for any detail on plans to wind back the Fed's massive balance sheet.

    Besides the Fed, factory orders for May are due at 10:00AM ET (1400GMT).

    The markets have doubted the Fed will hike rates for a third time this year, giving just about 50% odds for another rate rise by December, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

    On the earnings front, Yum China Holdings (NYSE:YUMC) is scheduled to report before the bell.

    In other markets, European stocks struggled, as losses for pharmaceutical companies and car makers dragged on the region’s index.

    Earlier, in Asia, markets ended mostly higher, as investors shrugged off geopolitical concerns on the Korean peninsula.

    The U.S. confirmed that a rocket launched by North Korea on Tuesday was an intercontinental ballistic missile. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called it a “new escalation of the threat” to the U.S. and its allies.

    An emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday will try to formulate a response to North Korea’s latest provocation

    Elsewhere, oil prices sank almost 2%, snapping its longest winning run since 2010 after Russia ruled out any proposals to deepen the OPEC-led production cuts.

    U.S. crude was at $46.34 a barrel, down 73 cents, or around 1.6%, while Brent shed 66 cents to $48.95.