U.S. stock-index futures extended their losses,\u00a0signaling\u00a0that the benchmark for American equities could enter a bear market when cash markets reopen on Dec. 26. March contracts on the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.4\u00a0percent\u00a0as of 10:48 a.m. in Singapore, after plunging as much as 1.1\u00a0percent\u00a0and rising as much as 0.5\u00a0percent\u00a0in volatile trading. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5\u00a0percent\u00a0each. The benchmark gauge for American equities is 7 points away from completing a full-blown bear market drop. Trump called Mnuchin a \u201cvery talented guy, very smart person,\u201d when he answered reporters\u2019 questions at the White House after addressing U.S. armed forces members on Christmas Day. He also said that the central bank is \u201craising interest rates too fast\u201d but he has \u201cconfidence\u201d that the Fed will \u201cget it pretty soon.\u201d Mnuchin spoke by phone with Trump several times over the weekend and also after a brutal trading day on Christmas Eve, CNN reported, citing a source close to the White House. \u201cMarkets have pretty much made up their minds on how jumpy they want to be - very,\u201d said\u00a0Steve\u00a0Englander, head of global G-10 FX research and North America macro strategy for Standard Chartered Bank. \u201cThe question is what is the primary driver of the jumpiness - economic concerns, Fed policy, Trump-Fed conflict, slowing of global growth. Nothing is particularly encouraging right now.\u201d The U.S. stock market has been roiled in a year of big reversals with the Nasdaq Composite descending into a bear market last week and the nation\u2019s benchmark inching closer to ending the longest bull market ever recorded. Even Donald Trump\u2019s expression of confidence earlier Tuesday hasn\u2019t calmed markets, which had\u00a0spiraled\u00a0after Bloomberg News reported that the president had discussed firing the central bank\u2019s chairman over raising interest rates. \u201cIt is very unusual that the bias among the market participants is to the downside during this time of the year, and there\u2019s not a lot of time to fix that,\u201d Walter \u201cBucky\u201d Hellwig, a senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama, said by phone. \u201cI am not a trader but I checked the futures three times on Sunday and am watching the futures on a Christmas evening as well - when you get moves like this you just can\u2019t ignore them.\u201d Bernd Berg, global macro and FX strategist at Woodman Asset Management isn\u2019t optimistic. \u201cWe are in the middle of the worst storm in global financial markets since the 2008 crisis, with markets crashing from New York to Tokyo,\u201d he said. \u201cAs global central banks are unlikely to come to the rescue this time around, the global market crash might continue well into next year.\u201d Elsewhere, Japan\u2019s Topix index rose on Wednesday after plunging nearly 5\u00a0percent\u00a0on Christmas Day. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average, which entered a bear market yesterday, pared its gain to 0.5\u00a0percent\u00a0at the mid-day trading break after surging as much as 2\u00a0percent\u00a0earlier. \u201cAs far as the futures are suggesting, the market is indecisive right now,\u201d said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Asia Pte. \u201cThe rather empty calendar and empty desks post-Christmas could mean that there may be little to arrest the fall should it unfold,\u201d she said.