Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 up 0.04 percent to 0.2 percent.

At 12:30 p.m. ET, the Federal Open Market Committee will release a statement on the interest rate policy. In a Reuters poll, dealers expect the fed funds rate will remain in the 0.0 percent to 0.25 percent range. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold media briefing at 1815 GMT.

Bernanke will likely use his first-ever news conference on monetary policy to hammer home the case for a patient approach to withdrawing the central bank's extensive support for the U.S. economy. He will face the press in the first regularly scheduled news conference by a Fed chairman in the central bank's 97-year history.

The dollar fell broadly, marking a fresh nadir against the Swiss franc and a 29-year trough against the Australian dollar. Crude oil prices also declined as investors awaited details of the Fed's assessment of the economy.

Major companies reporting results include Boeing , Whirlpool , eBay , Corning and WellPoint .

At 1230 GMT, Commerce Department releases March durable goods orders. Economists expect a 2.0 percent increase in orders versus a 0.6 percent drop in February.

Johnson & Johnson is to buy Swiss medical devices maker Synthes Inc for 19 billion Swiss francs ($21.59 billion) in its largest ever buy, boosting its surgical business and reshaping the wider industry.

Mortgage Bankers Association releases at 1100 GMT Weekly Mortgage Market Index for the week ended April 22, versus the prior week. The mortgage market index read 467.5 and the refinancing index was 1,975.2 in the previous week.

Nasdaq OMX Group and IntercontinentalExchange Inc appealed directly to NYSE Euronext stockholders on Tuesday, asking them to press the Big Board's directors to sit down to talk about their joint bid.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago releases at 1230 GMT its Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index for March. The index read 83.3 in the prior month.

News Corp is expected to receive bids for Myspace by the end of this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At 1500 GMT, Labor Department issues annual revisions to Employment Cost Index.

Shares in Amazon briefly turned higher in after-hours trade on Tuesday after it posted results. Costco was up 0.8 percent after the company announced late on Tuesday the expansion of its stock repurchase program and an increase in its quarterly cash dividend.

Tokyo stocks <.N225> gained 1.4 percent after a batch of Japanese and U.S. corporate earnings came in better than expected, but the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares fell 0.2 percent.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI>, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 0.8 to 0.9 percent. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Louise Heavens)