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Stock Futures Sink on Fed Pullback Talk as IBM Falls

Tickers in this article: DIS FOXA IBM ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were diving Wednesday alongside international markets amid speculation that the Federal Reserve could begin winding down its $85 billion per month bond-purchasing program as early as September.

Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 8.25 points, or 6.92 points below fair value, to 1,685.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were sinking 74 points, or 56.74 points below fair value, to 15,400. Futures for the Nasdaq were dipping 12 points, or 10.5 points below fair value, to 3,106.

Also weighing on the market was a slide in IBM shares. They were down 0.52% to $190 in premarket trading. The company plans to furlough the majority of its U.S. employees in its hardware unit, according to several reports. The employees will be required to take a week off at one-third pay beginning either Aug. 24 or Aug. 31.

The stock fell 2.1% to $191.40 on Tuesday after a downgrade from Credit Suisse .

Atlanta Fed Bank President Dennis Lockhart said Tuesday that the central bank could begin tapering its bond-buying program as early as September, though this wasn't set it stone, pending more economic data.

Even one of the most aggressive supporters of the Fed's massive stimulus program, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, said Tuesday that labor market conditions have improved and suggested as well the possibility of tapering beginning in September.

Economic reports to be released Wednesday include consumer credit figures at 3 p.m. EDT Consumer credit is expected to have increased by $15 billion in June after rising by $19.6 billion in May, according to a survey of economists by Thomson Reuters.

Cleveland Fed Bank President Sandra Pianalto will give a speech in Cleveland at 1:40 p.m.

On the earnings front, Media giant Time Warner posted second-quarter earnings and sales that beat estimates, reporting 83 per share on $7.4 billion in revenue compared to a consensus projection of 76 cents a share on revenue of $7.11 billion.

AOL, the Internet company, is forecast to report second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of almost $540 million.

21st Century Fox posted on Tuesday an operating profit increase of 64% as the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch reported its first earnings since spinning off its publishing businesses.

Walt Disney reported fiscal-third quarter earnings on Tuesday of $1.85 billion, or $1.01 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $1.83 billion, or $1.01 a share. Adjusted earnings in the latest quarter were $1.03 a share, which beat Wall Street's expectations. Third-quarter revenue rose 4% to $11.6 billion as the company's parks and resorts business saw a 7% hike in revenue and cable networks revenue rose 8%, thanks to growth at ESPN and other networks.