Stock index futures rose on Wednesday as several governments, including the United States, considered releasing oil reserves to ease high prices.
Large-cap shares, many already at 52-week highs, could continue to outperform as money managers dress up holdings ahead of the quarter-end on Friday.
A total of 175 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange hit new 52-week highs Tuesday, including Dow components Home Depot Inc
Crude futures fell about 1 percent, weighed by the possible release of strategic oil reserves by the U.S. and European nations. Oil prices are up 7.8 percent this year on Middle East tensions, and high prices could threaten an economic recovery.
The one thing that can derail this recovery is a spike in oil prices from these levels, and a release of reserves would signal that the government stands ready to take action to bring prices back down, said Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.5 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 29 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures put on 5.25 points.
Further upside in the S&P 500 was seen as limited following gains of more than 12 percent so far this year. The benchmark index is on track for its best quarter since the third quarter of 2009.
Much of the market's recent gains have come after accommodative monetary policies by central banks globally. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in an ABC News interview the Fed wasn't taking any options off the table, when asked about the potential for more quantitative easing.
February durable goods orders are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey were expecting a 3 percent rise in orders, compared with a 3.7 percent drop in January.
Family Dollar Stores Inc
Late Tuesday, both Sealy Corp
U.S. stocks retreated from near four-year highs on Tuesday, though gains in technology names limited the Nasdaq's decline.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)