Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, recovering from a sell-off in the previous session, as investors awaited monthly data on pending home and auto sales.

U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc rose 2.1 percent to $37.29 in premarket trading. BP led energy shares lower Tuesday and sparked a 1 percent decline in major indexes as it continued to struggle with a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. government launched a criminal probe.

Transocean , which owns the rig that sank in the Gulf of Mexico, rose 1.5 percent to $50.81 before the bell. Halliburton Co , which also worked on the rig, was up 1.7 percent to $21.50, while Anadarko Petroleum Corp edged 1 percent higher to $42.50.

We had a huge down day yesterday on lighter than average volume as we neared technical levels like Dow 10,000, so it's natural to expect a bounce today, said Wayne Kaufman, chief market strategist at John Thomas Financial in New York.

April pending home sales, set for release at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), will be a barometer of the struggling housing sector. Sales are seen rising 5 percent, compared with a 5.3 percent increase in the prior month. May auto sales are also due on Wednesday.

There have been some encouraging signs in the housing market and a lot of data has been positive lately, so unless pending sales come in far off expectations, investors will think that the bad economic news just isn't there domestically, said James Meyer, chief investment officer at Tower Bridge Advisers in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.2 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 climbed 21 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 12 points.

Amgen Inc gained 5 percent to $53.30 in premarket trading after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its osteoporosis drug Prolia, days after European approval.

JPMorgan Chase & Co rose 1.2 percent to $39 before the bell after UBS upgraded the Dow component to buy from neutral.

Altria Group Inc will pay nearly $1 billion in taxes and interest to the U.S. government to end a dispute. The stock edged 1 percent higher to $20.32 before the bell.

Google Inc expects to release its Chrome computer operating system in the late fall, a top executive said Wednesday, in a competitive strike at rival Microsoft Corp's Windows.

Also on Wednesday, the number of planned layoffs at U.S. companies in May was almost unchanged from April, when they touched a four-year low, according to a private report, suggesting employers are more upbeat about the economy.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)