U.S. Markets

U.S. stocks ended lower on Tuesday as Alcoa sales missed estimates and energy stocks declined as oil prices plunged more than 3 percent.

The S&P 500 Index was down 10.30 points, or 0.78 percent, at 1,314.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 117.53 points, or 0.95 percent, at 12,263.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.96 percent.

Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) declined 6.02percent to $16.70 as its first quarter revenue fell short of expectations. The New York-based aluminum producer said its first quarter sales grew 22 percent to $5.96 billion, but fell short of analysts' forecast of $6.07 billion.

Energy sector share declined as oil prices plunged after Goldman Sachs warned that the recent commodities boom is probably running out of steam. Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) declined 3.34 percent to $104.18and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) fell 2.33 percent to $83.18.

U.S. Futures

Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to higher opening on Wednesday ahead of economic data including retail sales.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.73 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.63 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.82 percent.

Retail sales data for the month of March is due to be released before market opens. Economists are expecting the figure to rise by 0.5 percent from 1 percent growth in the previous month. While core retail sales, excluding auto, is expected to record 0.8 percent growth from 0.7 percent rise in February.

On the corporate front, shares of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) gained 0.84 percent after the company said its first-quarter net income rose to $5.6 billion or $1.28 a share from $3.3 billion or$0.74 per share in the same quarter last year, while revenue fell to $25.2 billion from $27.7 billion in the year-ago period.

The euro advanced 0.25 percent to 1.4514 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.61 percent. Crude oil futures gained 0.40 percent to $106.67 a barrel and gold futures rose 0.54 percent.

European Markets

European stock markets advanced on Wednesday as mining shares advanced after plunging in the previous session and Alcatel-Lucent rallied after a broker upgrade.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.73 percent to 278.27. DAX30 advanced 73.98 points or 1.04 percent to 7,176.89 and CAC 40 gained 31.91points or 0.80 percent 4,008.51, while FTSE 100 advanced 58.65 points or 0.98 percent to 6,023.12.

Among mining stocks, BHP Billiton Plc. gained and Xstrata Plc. advanced 2.04 percent, while Fresnillo Plc. gained 2.22 percent.

Alcatel-Lucent SA shares climbed 6.21 percent to 3.99 euros after the company stock was upgraded to “overweight” rating from “equal weight” rating at Morgan Stanley.

Thomas Cook Group Plc. shares declined 2.6 percent to 164.90 euros after the company stock was downgraded to “sell” rating from “buy” rating at Goldman Sachs.

Asian Markets

Asian stock markets advanced for the first time in three days on Wednesday as gains from technology shares offset declines in resource-relates shares and Japanese car makers climbed after a brokerage upgrade.

Tokyo shares ended higher, led by gains from car makers after Nomura Holdings upgraded the sector. Nomura Holdings Inc. said they were oversold and expects a sharp post-quake recovery in the second half of the business year. Benchmark Nikkei gained 0.90 percent or 85.92 points to 9,641.18.

Among the automakers, Honda Motor gained 3.31 percent to 2,957 yen and Nissan Motor rose 2.87 percent to 716yen, while Toyota Motor gained 1.38 percent to 3,285 yen.

Canon Inc. gained 2.1 percent to 3,635 yen after the company stock was upgraded to a “buy” rating from “hold” rating at Deutsche Bank.

Shares of Tokyo Electric Power, Japan's biggest utility and operator of the Fukushima nuclear-power plant, surged 9.6 percent to 502 yen on news that Japan may cap the firm's liability to as little as $24 billion for damages stemming from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Hong Kong shares advanced as transportation companies’ surged on weaker oil prices. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 158.66 points or 0.66 percent to 24,135.03 and Chinese Shanghai composite gained 0.95 percent or 28.56 points to 3,049.93.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. gained 1.96 percent to HK$19.74 and China Eastern Airlines Corp. advanced 7.39 percent to HK$3.34, while China Southern Airlines surged 8.14 percent to HK$3.85.

South Korean shares advanced, led by gains from auto and technology exporter. Seoul composite advanced 32.52 points or 1.56 percent to 2121.92. Kia Motor gained 4.55 percent and Hyundai Motor surged 6.25 percent, while Samsung Electronics gained 2.15 percent.