Wall Street was headed to open lower on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump cast fresh doubts over current U.S.-China trade talks and ahead of a Federal Reserve report that would be watched for cues on pace of future interest rate hikes.
Trump signaled a new direction for the trade talks, saying the current track appeared "too hard to get done", a day after telling reporters that he was not pleased with the recent talks.
The latest uncertainty comes as investors prepare to assess the Federal Reserve's May meeting minutes, scheduled for release at 2:00 p.m. ET, for indications of how many rate hikes are likely this year.
The U.S. central bank lifted borrowing costs in March and policymakers are split between those who expect another two rate hikes this year and those who forecast three, in the backdrop of low unemployment, moderate growth and rising inflation.
"Not only are the trade negotiations in focus but we also have the Fed's minutes and I expect them to be hawkish," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
"A combination of the Fed and the trade worries will make today a rocky session."
At 8:53 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 171 points, or 0.69 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 16.25 points, or 0.6 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 65.75 points, or 0.95 percent.
U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to eight-day lows as investors shunned risk. Of the 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average components trading premarket, 29 were in the red.
A majority of the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 100 stocks trading premarket were also lower.
Target sank 4.5 percent after the retailer's quarterly profit rose less than expected as increasing investments dented margins.
Tiffany jumped 14.7 percent after the jeweler's quarterly results blew past estimates and the company also raised its full-year profit forecast and announced a $1 billion share buyback program.
Lowe's gained 4.4 percent after the home improvement retailer maintained its annual financial targets on expectations that demand will recover after a disappointing first quarter.
Comcast fell 2.0 percent after the company said it was preparing to top Disney's offer for certain Twenty-First Century Fox assets.
Disney dropped 0.8 percent, while Fox gained 1.4 percent.