The U.S. stock market was headed for a lower open Wednesday as concerns about China's economic outlook weighed on investors.
KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,287 as of 9:15 a.m. Eastern time. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures eased five points, also 0.3 percent, to 1,859. Nasdaq futures slipped 13 points, 0.4 percent, to 3,675.
CHINA IN SPOTLIGHT: The catalyst for the latest market downturn was news this week that Chinese exports slumped in February. Since China is a big consumer of raw materials and energy, commodities such as copper and iron ore have dropped sharply. Copper has fallen to its lowest level since 2010.
DRUG CONCERNS: Shares of Geron were down $2.71, or 62 percent, to $1.69 in premarket trading. Concerns about potential liver damage prompted U.S. federal regulators to order research suspended on its blood disorder drug.
EUROPE: The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.1 percent. Germany's DAX fell 1.4 percent. The CAC-40 in France was down 1.5 percent.
ASIA: Earlier, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 1.7 percent. China's Shanghai composite dropped 0.2 percent. South Korea's Kospi shed 1.6 percent. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slid 2.6 percent. The Bank of Japan decided not to expand its already lavish monetary stimulus following a 2-day policy meeting.