NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- 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.
The fundamentals continue to weigh on market sentiment. "We are in a very sideways market," said Dick Del Bello, senior partner at Conifer Group. Stocks have been heading higher since the start of the year but the economy is still on shaky ground and Europe's debt problems are remain an issue.
Early Wednesday, Portugal agreed to a $116 billion financial bailout to deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, according to reports.
The news was met with a muted reaction. "If this was the first time we heard about a European economy needing a bailout, it is big news, but we have heard this story before," said Del Bello.
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.
"I think the jobs numbers throughout this period are critically important," said Del Bello. "Unfortunately, I think only a major move in either direction is going to move the market."
Companies: Before the opening bell, CNNMoney parent Time Warner said a surge in advertising sales boosted revenue. But net income dropped. Shares of Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500) were slightly lower in premarket trading.
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).
World markets: European stocks were down in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 1%, while the DAX in Germany edged down 0.4% and France's CAC 40 fell 0.3%.
Asian markets ended the session lower. The Shanghai Composite dropped 2.3%, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 1.4%. Japan's Nikkei was closed for holiday.
After losing more than 2% in the previous session, oil for June delivery gained 12 cents to $111.17 a barrel Wednesday morning.
However, other commodities continued to sell-off.
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%.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||4.52%||4.38%|
|15 yr fixed||3.55%||3.42%|
|30 yr refi||4.51%||4.37%|
|15 yr refi||3.54%||3.41%|
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