U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited the outcome of a two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting, though earnings results from Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc limited gains.
The markets are also looking ahead to U.S. President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address, which will be delivered to Congress at 9 p.m.
The Federal Open Market Committee concludes a two-day meeting at about 2:15 p.m., with few policy shifts expected. Investors will look for clues on how long the Fed will keep in place ultra-low interest rates and its easy-money program.
New U.S. home sales figures are also due, at 10 a.m. On Tuesday, Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes and a report from the National Association of Realtors revealed a weaker-than-expected housing market.
Dow components United Technologies Corp
Today is probably the busiest day we could have for catalysts that I can imagine, between the Fed, Obama, the data and all the earnings, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.
Investors are feeling optimistic about what the Fed and president will say, which is why we're a little up, but mostly they're waiting to see the data before jumping in.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.9 points and were modestly 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 gained 12 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.5 points.
Lifting the Nasdaq premarket was Yahoo Inc
The U.S. Senate moved Tuesday to clear the way to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman, setting a procedural vote for Thursday, signaling that the needed votes were secured. Uncertainty over Bernanke's reappointment hung over stocks in recent sessions.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy & Theodore d'Afflisio)