U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday on follow-through from three days of gains on Wall Street as growth in China showed signs of cooling.
The latest economic report from China may encourage investors. Industrial output growth eased in April, suggesting the world's second-biggest economy is cooling and reducing the need for more monetary policy tightening, even as inflation remains high.
The Chinese inflation numbers are starting to become less of an issue, said Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A lot of the problem with inflation in China is domestic.
U.S. crude dropped 1 percent, while Brent crude ticked down 0.5 percent. De Gan said oil could stabilize at lower levels since U.S. economic data has been moderating in the recent weeks.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 point and were even with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 31 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3 points.
American International Group Inc
Johnson & Johnson
Walt Disney Co
Other companies announcing results later Wednesday include Cisco Systems Inc
Major U.S. banks are willing to pay as much as $5 billion to settle claims of improper mortgage foreclosure practices, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
The Commerce Department releases international trade numbers for March at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a $47.0 billion deficit, compared with a $45.76 billion deficit in February.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)