U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.2 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.1 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.1 percent at 4.30 a.m. ET.
Shares in financial institutions will be in the spotlight after the Wall Street Journal reported that GMAC Financial Services is close to getting about $3.5 billion in added aid from the U.S. government, on top of the $12.5 billion already received since December 2008.
Shares of airline companies will be in focus after Japan Airlines Corp's stock <9205.T> tumbled as much as 32 percent to a record low on Wednesday on growing expectations the struggling carrier was headed for bankruptcy under a state restructuring plan. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been courting JAL with rival offers of financial aid.
Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it has ended a late-stage lung cancer study of its experimental drug figitumumab after an analysis showed it was unlikely to meet the main goal of improving overall survival.
Broadcom Corp said on Tuesday it will pay $160.5 million in cash to resolve an investor lawsuit accusing it of improperly backdating stock options but the California chip maker did not admit to wrongdoing.
Overstock.com Inc said on Tuesday it retained KPMG as auditor, six weeks after firing predecessor Grant Thornton and taking the unusual step of filing an unreviewed quarterly report with U.S. regulators.
Troubled U.S. trucker YRC Worldwide said it was again extending a crucial debt-for-equity offer that it needs to stay afloat as it worked to convince bondholders to participate.
Tokyo's Nikkei dropped 0.9 percent on Wednesday, the index last trading session of the year, booking a 19 percent gain in 2009, with shares of high-tech exporters leading a rebound rally on a weaker yen and as economic stimulus measures helped turn around the world economy.
European stocks were down 0.2 percent in morning trade, led lower by energy shares. The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was on track to record a gain of 26 percent on the year, the index's best annual performance since 1999.
U.S. stocks edged lower in a low-volume session on Tuesday, breaking a six-day string of gains as investors found little reason to push stocks higher as the year's end approached.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dipped 1.67 points, or 0.02 percent, to end at 10,545.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> slipped 1.58 points, or 0.14 percent, to finish at 1,126.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> declined 2.68 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 2,288.40.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Hans Peters)