US futures tumble as Fed backs away from stimulus

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures tumbled Wednesday after economic policymakers signaled that they may be less willing to fund more economic growth through bond purchases.

The Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 112 points to 13,020. The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 12.1 points to 1,396.7. The Nasdaq composite futures slipped 21.25 points to 2,757.75.

The Institute for Supply Management will release its services index at 10 a.m. Eastern time and economists expect it to show that growth has cooled compared to February, which came in at the highest growth in a year.

But it was the minutes from the Federal Reserve late Tuesday that started a sell-off that began in the U.S., and extended overseas Wednesday.

Encouraged by job growth, policy makers seem more willing to allow the economy to walk forward on its own. The U.S. and governments overseas have worked actively to prop up economies damaged by the global downturn.

The apparent easing of that stimulus sent investors out of stocks and into Treasuries. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is up 1.1 percent this week.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index plunged 2.3 percent to 9,819.99, its lowest close in nearly a month while South Korea's Kospi tumbled 1.5 percent. Markets in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were closed for public holidays.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1 percent at 5,780 while Germany's DAX fell 1.7 percent to 6,863. The CAC-40 in France was 1.3 percent lower at 3,364.