Wall Street looked set for a higher open on Wednesday as investors remained optimistic that the worst of the economic slowdown was abating.
Energy shares could get a boost as U.S. crude oil futures rose above $60 a barrel to touch a new six-month high amid bullish inventory data and a spate of U.S. refinery accidents. Exxon Mobil Corp
Shares of Deere & Co
Bank of America Corp
While confidence over positive economic signals has fueled a hefty run-up since early March, investors say the rally could be capped due to the lack of some impetus on the horizon.
The market has been flip-flopping each day and is looking for a clear, discernible direction through some catalyst in either direction, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey.
There's a high level of frustration mounting among investors and traders as they try to figure out in which way we will get a follow-through trend.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.20 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 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.25 points.
On the economic front, minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy-setting meeting are expected to be released at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Investors will watch for further clues on the economy.
Also, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is to testify on the Troubled Asset Relief Program before the Senate Banking Committee at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
Hewlett-Packard Co, the world's top personal computer maker, gave a disappointing revenue forecast for the fiscal year and said it will cut 2 percent of its workforce as it reported in-line quarterly profit after the bell on Tuesday. Shares of HP
Shares of Dow component Procter & Gamble Co
The Dow and S&P 500 slipped Tuesday as financial shares sank on disappointing housing data, but the Nasdaq rose as investors snapped up technology issues ahead of results from HP.
The S&P 500 has climbed from a 12-year closing low in early March, rising 37.4 percent through May 8. But the benchmark index gave up some ground last week and is now up 29.8 percent since March 9.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)