Stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as caution prevailed ahead of key inflation data for May and quarterly results from package delivery company FedEx Corp
After the recent surge in commodity prices and oil's brief run-up above $73 a barrel last week, investors want to see from the May Consumer Price Index whether inflation pressures are seeping into the broader economy.
The spotlight will also be on the details of the Obama administration's financial regulatory reform package, due to be announced later on Wednesday. U.S. President Barack Obama will present his proposals at 12:50 p.m. EDT.
Economic bellwether FedEx
The market is still trying to decide whether the selloff of the last few days is reaching an end, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
Now that we've had some profit-taking ... some investors are probably starting to nibble back in. The regulation information is hard to digest right now without a lot of detail, and FedEx's forecast is probably meaningful, depending on whether they say things are improving.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.90 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 dipped 21 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.75 points.
In the past two days, the benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> has dropped more than 3 percent amid concerns that the economic recovery might prove weak and provide very little impetus for earnings growth.
The S&P 500, however, is still up 34.8 percent from its 12-year low of March 9, and even with Tuesday's selloff it managed to extend its hold above the 200-day moving average -- a crucial technical gauge for market strength -- to a 12th straight day.
The May Consumer Price Index (CPI) is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Surging gasoline prices probably pushed U.S. consumer prices up in May, but excluding food and fuel, costs were better contained. The median forecast of a Reuters poll of 68 economists predicts a 0.3 percent rise in the CPI in May after being flat in April.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)