Stock futures pointed to a sharply higher open on Wednesday, as surging prices for oil and other commodities drove a global equities rally and Home Depot raised its outlook.

Home Depot Inc , the leading U.S. home improvement chain, raised its 2009 profit forecast and stood by its sales expectations, sending its shares up 3.8 percent in premarket trade.

A weaker U.S. dollar helped push U.S. crude oil futures up more than $1 a barrel to top $71, a new seven-month high, after data Tuesday showed a steep drop in U.S. crude inventories, and lifted commodity prices like copper and gold.

Shares in Exxon Mobil Corp climbed about 1 percent to $73.95 in premarket trade, while Alcoa Inc added 3.4 percent to $11.53.

We've got European markets trading up anywhere between 2 to 2.5 percent, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York. Leading the pack seems to be the inflation plays, the basic materials, energy, early-cycle industrials.

I think we are certainly in an environment where we will see inflation sooner rather than later, and that seems to be playing out. The follow-through to U.S. futures makes sense where we see a higher open as commodities advance here, Hogan said.

While higher energy prices may be a boon for the energy sector, the sharp rise could hamper any economic recovery by increasing energy costs for consumers and businesses.

S&P 500 futures rose 11.70 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 98 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 11.25 points.

Before the bell, the U.S. dollar and treasury markets were hit by unsettling news as Russia said it will reduce the share of U.S. treasuries in its gold and foreign exchange reserves.

With fears of inflation and recently creeping interest rates, investors will watch a 10-year Treasury note auction at 1 p.m. EDT to gauge the appetite for ever-increasing government debt.

JPMorgan Securities raised its price targets on Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley , saying fixed income would be a big earnings driver this year and next. Goldman shares added 1 percent to $150.75 before the bell.

The day's economic agenda includes the Federal Reserve's Beige Book of current economic conditions at 2 p.m. EDT. Also, Commerce Department April international trade is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, capping another session of directionless trading as investors looked for fresh catalysts to sustain the markets recovery from 12-year lows of early March.

Volatility continues to trend lower. The CBOE volatility Index <.VIX>, or VIX, notched its lowest close since the day before the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc bankruptcy, and the S&P 500's net movement over each of the last three days has been less than 1 percent -- its most subdued run since last Christmas, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)