U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday ahead of data on the housing market a day after the S&P 500 snapped a three-day winning streak.
Equities fell for the first time in four sessions and second in the past ten on Tuesday as a warning about China's growth sparked selling in energy and industrial shares, although broad selling was minimal.
Investors will look to data at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) when the National Association of Realtors will release its existing home sales for February for signs excess inventory in the housing market is diminishing. Economists in a Thomson Reuters survey forecast a 4.62 million annualized unit total versus 4.57 million in January.
Certainly the Oracle news is positive but we are just in this see-saw pattern where we continue to anticipate good news in the U.S. -- we have the home sales report coming up today -- and yet the China and Europe news seems to be a little disappointing, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
So you are seeing a lot of rotation in stocks as companies that derive their profits from the U.S. continue to go up and commodities and energy companies that are more tied to the world economy have been selling off. It's left us in a little bit of a holding pattern here of inching up gains from day to day.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.7 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 added 20 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 2.75 points.
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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, said.
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European shares edged higher led by retailer Sainsbury
Asian shares eased as concerns about China's slowing economy dampened the optimism generated by a brightening outlook for the U.S. economy that has been pushing equity markets higher since late last year.
(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)