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U.S. stock futures were headed for a modest retreat at Wednesday's open, following a report showing weaker-than-expected job growth in April.
Before the opening bell, ADP said the private sector created 179,000 jobs last month, down from 207,000 in the previous month. That was less than the 200,000 jobs analysts had been expecting.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks struggled for a second session as disappointing corporate earnings, and a steep drop in the price of oil, weighed on the broader market.
Economy: In addition to ADP's report on job creation, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas issued a report showing employers announced fewer planned job cuts in April, even as government sector layoffs mounted.
Wednesday's reports on the job market set the stage for Friday's widely anticipated government jobs report.
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect the unemployment rate to hold steady at 8.8% while employers added 185,000 jobs in April. For the full year, economists expect 2.3 million new jobs - just under 200,000 per month - and an unemployment rate of 8.4% by year end.
Companies: Investors will also get results from News Corp (NWS, Fortune 500)., Prudential Financial (PRU, Fortune 500), WholeFoods (WFMI, Fortune 500), MetLife (MET, Fortune 500), and video game publisher Electronic Arts (ERTS, Fortune 500).
Shares of Varian Semiconductor (VSEA) surged more than 50% on news thatApplied Materials (AMAT, Fortune 500) will buy the chipmaker in a $5 billion cash deal.
Gold futures for June delivery fell $3.40 to $1,537.00 an ounce.
Silver futures for July delivery shed 87 cents to $41.72, after sinking more than 7% in the previous session.
Bonds: Bond prices were little changed. The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury edged slightly lower, pushing the yield up to 3.26%
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