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U.S. futures fall as China rout deepens

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday as a rout in Chinese markets deepened and as investors continue to keep a wary eye on developments in the Greek debt crisis.

* Beijing unveiled yet another battery of measures to arrest the sell-off and the securities regulator warned of “panic sentiment” gripping investors in the world’s second-largest economy.

* Growing concerns of a slowdown in China were reflected in the commodities markets, with copper prices falling to a six-year low. Oil prices, however, recovered slightly from their worst week in past few months.

* More than 30 percent has been knocked off the value of Chinese shares since mid-June, and for some global investors the fear that China’s market turmoil will destabilize the real economy is now a bigger risk than the crisis in Greece.

* Euro zone members have given Greece until Sunday to come up with convincing reform proposals in return for loans that will keep the country from crashing out of the single currency.

* With its banks closed, cash withdrawals rationed and the economy in freefall, Greece has never been closer to a total state bankruptcy that would probably force it to print an alternative currency and leave the euro.

* Investors will also scrutinize the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s June 16-17 meeting to see if the storm clouds over Greece and China will have any effect on the timing and pace of an interest rate increase. The minutes are due at 2:00 p.m. ET.

* San Francisco Fed President John Williams is scheduled to speak on the economic outlook before the International Conference of Commercial Bank Economists later in the day.

* U.S. quarterly earnings season kicks off, with Alcoa <AA.N> reporting results after the close of markets. Corporate profits are expected to have fallen 3.1 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* Microsoft <MSFT.O> shares fell 2.2 percent to $43.75 in premarket trading after the New York Times reported the company plans to announce a new round of layoffs to cut costs further.

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