March 27, 2019 / 11:46 AM / 24 days ago

US STOCKS-Futures edge lower as growth worries linger

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* Futures down: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.27 pct, Nasdaq 0.16 pct

By Shreyashi Sanyal

March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Wednesday, as investors continued to be gripped by global growth fears and an inverted yield curve that weighed on appetite for risk.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields fell to their lowest levels since December 2017 on Wednesday, a day after showing signs of stabilization that boosted financials and helped lift Wall Street’s main indexes.

Adding to the worries over global growth, Chinese data on Wednesday showed industrial profits shrank the most since late-2011 in the first two months of the year.

Wall Street has been hit by concerns of slowing global economic growth since last week with investors digesting dour factory data from the United States, Europe and Japan, as well as weak consumer confidence numbers for March this week.

The European Central Bank said on Wednesday it could further delay a planned increase in interest rates as it faces rising threats to growth, a week after the Federal Reserve abandoned any interest rate hikes this year.

At 7:12 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 86 points, or 0.33 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 7.5 points, or 0.27 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 12 points, or 0.16 percent.

Markets also awaited new developments on trade talks between the United States and China with a new round of high-level negotiations scheduled to start on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a report from the U.S. Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to say trade deficit likely narrowed to $57 billion in January from $59.8 billion in December.

Among stocks trading premarket, Boeing Co fell 0.6 percent ahead of a scheduled briefing on its 737 MAX airliners for pilots and airline representatives in Washington later in the day.

Centene Corp’s shares slipped 6.3 percent after the health insurer said it would buy smaller rival WellCare Health Plans Inc for $15.27 billion. Shares of WellCare jumped 13.5 percent.

Southwest Airlines Co dropped 1.2 percent after the company said the recent groundings of Boeing 737 MAX planes would lead to its first-quarter revenue per available seat mile coming in below its previous forecast. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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