U.S. stock futures edged higher Wednesday as European equities were flat ahead of a report on February's existing-home sales that could show a rise in U.S. home sales.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 19 points to 13127. S&P 500 Index futures gained 2.50 points to 1402.50, while Nasdaq 100 futures also rose 2.50 points, to 2738.
Shares of Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) were up 2 percent to $30.69 in premarket trading after the Silicon Valley company on Tuesday beat earnings estimates on the back of new software sales that exceeded forecasts, offsetting a decline in revenue from hardware sales.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks declined for the first time in four sessions amid concern over economic growth in China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 68.94 points, a drop of 0.5 percent, to 13170.19, having been down 100 points during Tuesday's session. The S&P 500 was down 4.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1405.52.
At 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) the National Association of Realtors releases its latest existing-home sales data, which will indicate whether excess inventory in the U.S. housing market is diminishing.
Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a 4.62 million annualized unit total, compared with 4.57 million in January.
An economists survey by Dow Jones MarketWatch, estimated existing-home sales at an annual rate of 4.6 million, up from January's 4.57 million.
Also Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver the second of four lectures at George Washington University on the history of the U.S. central bank.
Asia shares continued to fall amid lingering worries about China growth. In Japan, shares declined for the first time in six sessions. European stocks were mostly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index flat at 268.93.
The U.K. budget address for the coming financial year will be a focus for Europe. Media reports said Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will move to cut the top personal rate of taxation from to 45 percent and increase personal tax allowances. The budget address is due at 12:30 p.m. in London (8:30 a.m. EDT)
Gold for April delivery rose $6.60 to $1,653.90 an ounce.
Crude-oil futures for May delivery, the new front-month contract, rose 52 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $106.59 a barrel after data late Tuesday showed a decrease in inventories.
The U.S. Federal Reserve may need to start moving away from its near-zero interest rate policy as soon as this year, if unemployment continues to drop and inflation threatens to rise, a top Fed official told reporters. I would see an argument for initiating that exit in 2012 or 2013, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, was quoted by Reuters as saying.