Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.14 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.14 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.18 percent at 0948 GMT (4:48 a.m. ET).
European stocks inched higher in early trade, mirroring gains in Asia and on Wall Street and adding to their sharp December rally, but the rise was limited by a drop in mining shares as heavy rains disrupt Australian coal exports.
Investors will keep an eye on the fixed income market on Wednesday, as U.S. Treasuries prices fell broadly and some maturities were on track for their worst monthly performance in years after an auction of 5-year notes drew dismal demand.
Oil steadied above $91 a barrel on Wednesday ahead of U.S. inventory data expected to show a drawdown in crude and distillate stocks due to severe weather in the world's largest oil user.
The dollar stabilized on Wednesday after a spike in U.S. Treasury yields helped it recover from a sharp loss against the euro in a yo-yo session the previous day marked by thin year-end flows.
Shares of rare earths prospectors soared on Wednesday after China cut export quotas, threatening to reduce already tight global supplies and risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization.
Private equity company Blackstone Group
The Dow and S&P 500 rose in light trading on Tuesday, extending December's rally, as cold weather in the Northeast lifted oil prices and energy shares.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 20.51 points, or 0.18 percent, at 11,575.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.98 point, or 0.08 percent, at 1,258.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 4.39 points, or 0.16 percent, at 2,662.88.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)