Payroll-processor ADP said the private sector added 135,000 jobs in May. The figure was lower than expected, which may keep investors on edge since the ADP report is typically considered a prelude to the U.S. government's closely watched monthly jobs report. That report is due before the bell Friday.
"It is not that the ADP report is particularly accurate on a month-to-month basis, but it does appear to steal some of the thunder of the U.S. non-farm payroll report," said Marc Chandler, strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman, in a client note. This month's jobs report is "particularly important," he said, given all the rumblings about the Fed's next move.
On the economic docket: At 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book report, an analysis of regional economic activity.
Investors were unimpressed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's unveiling of new "Abenomics" growth policies, leading the Nikkei index to tumble by nearly 4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1% and the Shanghai Composite Index declined by 0.4%.