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Stocks set to tilt lower following strong GDP, private-sector jobs report

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to flat to slightly lower open after a batch of upbeat reports, with a key jobs report due Friday and the Labor Day holiday set to begin.

S&P 500 futures

ESU7, -0.11%

slipped 3.60 points, or 0.1%, at 2,443, while those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

YMU7, -0.10%

 tacked on 26 points, or 0.1%, to 21,849. Nasdaq-100 futures

NQU7, -0.03%

 added 2.50 points, or less than 0.1%, to 5,867.25.

The U.S. economy expanded at a 3% pace in the second quarter, a faster pace than had originally been reported, and the fastest rate in more than two years. Separately, ADP said that private-sector employers added 237,000 jobs in August, well above the 185,000 that had been expected.

While both data points topped forecasts, they weren’t enough to lift shares given recent gains, as well as existing headwinds and the concerns that exist over valuation.

“The economy is doing well, we continue to show growth, people are working and spending, and this should be a positive for markets,” said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services. “However, this is the slowest time of the year, volumes are very low, and there could be some additional volatility stemming from Harvey and North Korea that could prevent short-term gains.”

On Tuesday, the S&P

SPX, +0.08%


DJIA, +0.26%

 and Nasdaq Composite

COMP, +0.30%

 closed higher, bouncing back from early losses that came after a North Korean missile test over Japan. Following gains for three consecutive trading days, the S&P has cut its August loss to 1% and stands 1.4% below its record close hit earlier this month.

Read: Dow industrials just booked the best intraday comeback in 9 months

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

On the central-bank front, Fed Gov. Jerome Powell is due to give a speech at 9:15 a.m. Eastern on the role of boards at large financial firms, as he takes part in a Chicago Federal Reserve conference.

Other markets: Oil futures

CLV7, -0.93%

 traded lower, as investors tracked Harvey’s impact and appeared to ignore data that showed a drop in U.S. crude supplies. European

SXXP, +0.61%

and Asian equities have rebounded after North Korea worries fueled a selloff on Tuesday. Gold futures


 pulled back, and a key dollar index

DXY, +0.39%

stepped higher.

Earnings and deal news: Shares in H&R Block Inc.

HRB, -1.28%

 look set for a down day after falling late Tuesday as the tax preparer posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss.

Barnes & Noble Education Inc.

BNED, -1.73%

 fell 3% in premarket trading after it reported a first-quarter loss that was wider than expected. Sales also came in below forecasts.

Vera Bradley Inc.

VRA, -0.59%

 surged 12% before the bell after the women’s clothing company reported earnings for the second quarter that were better than Wall Street expected.

Jack Daniel’s parent Brown-Forman Corp.

BF.B, +2.32%

 gained in premarket trading after it reported results that topped analyst consensus forecasts.

Rockwell Collins Inc.

COL, +2.15%

 is likely to see active trading following news that United Technologies Corp.

UTX, +2.92%

  is nearing a deal to buy it for more than $20 billion, a tie-up that would create one of the world’s biggest aircraft-equipment makers.

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