US STOCKS-Futures point to lower open after ADP report

* S&P 500, Nasdaq coming off 9th quarterly rise

* ADP data misses expectations, raising payroll concerns

* Futures down: Dow 60 pts, S&P 8 pts, Nasdaq 14.5 pt (Updates trading, adds data, analyst comment)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) – Dow Futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday as a weaker-than-expected report on private sector employment raised concerns that Friday’s impending jobs report could also point to worsening conditions in the labor market.

The ADP National Employment Report showed that U.S. private employers added 189,000 jobs last month, well below economists’ expectations for 225,000 jobs. The report was the weakest since January 2014.

The private employment reading precedes Friday’s jobs data, the most widely watched indicator of the week, though that arrives on Good Friday when the stock market will be closed. The inability of market participants to trade off that report could generate some volatility going into the holiday.

“The correlation between ADP and the payroll report isn’t terribly strong, but given the size of the miss, this could cause investors to pause and reassess the landscape,” said David Lebovitz, global market strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management in New York.

Data due through the week will be studied for indications on whether economic growth is brisk enough to spur the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates sooner than expected. The Fed has said it would start raising rates when it deems the economy strong enough to withstand the impact; many analysts believe the first hike will come in September.

“Markets have been trading sideways, with the S&P having difficulty breaking above 2,100, but bad news could become good news if that means the Fed will hold off on raising rates a bit longer,” Lebovitz said.

In other data, reports on manufacturing will be released after the market opens on Wednesday.

Major indexes are coming off a weak month in March but the S&P and Nasdaq are coming off modest first-quarter advances; the Nasdaq’s nine-quarter streak of gains was the longest in its history. The S&P 500 is down 2.3 percent from its March 2 record close.

Health care and consumer discretionary stocks have led gains this year while utilities have underperformed. Energy has also been weak as crude oil has fallen more than 11 percent in 2015, including 0.6 percent on Wednesday.

In company news, Sears Holdings Corp rose 6.3 percent to $ 44 after it said it would raise more than $ 2.5 billion by selling stores to a real estate investment trust it is setting up, in the latest move to shore up its finances.

Macerich Co fell 5.1 percent to $ 80 in premarket trading after Simon Property Group withdrew its offer to buy the company.

Futures snapshot at 8:29 a.m. EDT (1229 GMT):

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.39 percent, with 254,272 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 14.5 points, or 0.33 percent, in volume of 44,611 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were down 60 points, or 0.34 percent, with 60,659 contracts changing hands.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Dow Futures

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