U.S. stock index futures fell sharply on Wednesday due to rising concerns over confrontation between the United States and Russia over military action in Syria.
The face-off between the two countries gained ground after Russia warned that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel enclave would be shot down.
As a reply, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that missiles “will be coming” and blasted Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“There are some warnings about escalation of situation in Syria, that’s what’s impacting… it could escalate into a greater military conflict,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
“Investors are probably going to take a little bit of a cautious approach until the tensions in Syria diminishes.”
At 7:29 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 259 points, or 1.06 percent. S&P 500 e-minis fell 26.75 points, or 1.01 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis declined 68 points, or 1.03 percent.
The main U.S. indexes closed up nearly 2 percent on Tuesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to lower import tariffs, in an attempt to defuse trade dispute with the United States.
Investors will also looking forward to an update on inflation and monetary policy.
The Labor Department is expected to say its seasonally adjusted consumer price index will remain unchanged in March, after a 0.2 percent gain in February.
The core CPI is seen increasing 2.1 percent year-on-year, up from 1.8 percent in the previous month. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The Federal Reserve is set to release the minutes of its meeting held in mid-March, at which it voted to raise interest rates.
The minutes will also show the view within the Fed on the possible impact of the Trump administration’s trade policies.
Among stocks, Facebook Inc shares were down more than 1 percent in premarket trading.
Shares closed up 4.5 percent on Tuesday after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, in the first of two U.S. congressional hearings, made no further promise to support new legislation or change how the social network does business.