Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday after the previous session's tepid gains, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.2 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.3 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.4 percent at 4 a.m. EDT.

Asian stocks slid on Wednesday as investors worried global growth was faltering, with Japan's Nikkei average down 0.6 percent. European stocks were down 1 percent in morning trade, resuming an almost uninterrupted two-week retreat as Tuesday's short-covering rally dwindled.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday he was confident the U.S. economy would continue to grow as it repairs damage from the financial crisis, but added that recoveries were never even, never steady.

Geithner said the economy was still feeling the lasting effects of damage to business and consumer confidence from the financial crisis and Americans were still spending cautiously.

China on Wednesday ruled out the nuclear option of dumping its vast holdings of U.S. Treasury securities but called on the United States to be a responsible guardian of the dollar.

Microsoft Corp is planning to cut a small number of jobs as early as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Lockheed Martin Corp has won a contract valued at $522 million for long-lead work and materials for production and delivery of a fifth batch of 42 F-35 fighter planes, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Crude prices fell below $72 on Wednesday on a slightly stronger dollar, reversing earlier gains of as much as 0.6 percent boosted by forecasts of a second weekly fall in U.S. inventories.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward is in Abu Dhabi for a scheduled visit with a trading partner and to meet potential investors, a UAE official said on Wednesday. The oil company, grappling with a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is looking for investors to help fend off any potential takeover attempts, a UAE source has said.

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday after a five-session losing streak, but strong buying interest evaporated in the afternoon as bearish sentiment reasserted itself and investors used the morning's gains as an opportunity to sell rather than establish new long positions.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 57.14 points, or 0.6 percent, at 9,743.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 5.48 points, or 0.5 percent, at 1,028.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 2.09 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,093.88.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Dan Lalor)