US futures point to a muted open, after Tuesday’s sharp losses

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U.S. stock index futures fluctuated ahead of Wednesday’s open, weighed down by negative trading seen across global markets.

Around 3:40 a.m. ET, Dow futures popped 9 points, indicating an open of 21.52 points up. Futures on the S&P 500 were pointing to a negative open of -1.65 points, while Nasdaq futures signaled an open of 2.81 points down.

The tepid trading seen in futures comes after Wall Street closed its previous session deep in the red. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped its four-day winning streak, closing down more than 300 points lower, as global growth fears added jitters to market sentiment.

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it had revised down its estimates for global growth, projecting a 3.5 percent growth rate across the globe in 2019, and 3.6 percent for next year. The fund had already slashed its forecasts back in October, due to trade tensions, however issues still remain as the institution keeps its eye on other topics filled with uncertainty, such as Brexit. Weak economic data out of China didn’t ease fears either.

Meanwhile, investors continue to keep a close eye on trade negotiations with the Asian nation.

In the latest surrounding trade discussions, the White House has appeared to have rejected a trade planning meeting with its Chinese counterparts this week, as outstanding disagreements over the enforcement of intellectual property rules continue to wane — this according to a source familiar with the situation.

When commenting on the news, the White Housetold CNBC Tuesday that “the teams remain in touch in preparation for high level talks with Vice Premier Liu He” at the end of January. Meantime, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow refuted claims that an official meeting had been called off.

Looking closer to home, investors will keep abreast of domestic politics as the longest-ever government shutdown continues to wreak havoc and trigger uncertainty across the U.S.

While the outlook for the world and domestic economy continues to remain on investors’ minds, corporate news is also expected to keep markets busy on Wednesday. On the earnings front, a slew of companies are due to report, including Abbott Labs, Comcast, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Ford and F5 Networks.

On the economic front, mortgage applications are due out at 7 a.m. ET, followed by the Richmond Fed’s survey of manufacturing activity at 10 a.m. ET.

—CNBC’s Thomas Franck and Kayla Tausche contributed to this report

Correction: This story has been updated with the correct attribution to the comments made by White House advisor Larry Kudlow.

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