Futures on major U.S. indices point to a lower opening on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs reported a decline in quarterly profit and a government report showed that U.S. housing starts fell more than expected in December.

Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.21 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.06 percent and Nasdaq-100 futures are up 0.01 percent.

Construction of new homes and apartments starts fell 4.3 percent to an annualized rate of 529,000 in December, while new building permits, which give a sense of future home construction, jumped 16.7 percent to an annualized rate of 640,000 in December, the highest level last March, from a revised 544,000 in November.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) quarterly profit was $2.39 billion or $3.79 per share, down from $4.95 billion or $8.20 per share in the year-ago quarter. Total net revenue fell 10 percent to $8.64 billion in the fourth quarter as net revenue in Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Client Execution plunged 48 percent to $1.64 billion. Operating expenses more than doubled to $5.17 billion from $2.24 billion.

On Tuesday, US stocks ended modestly higher despite some negative developments with market behemoths Apple and Citigroup (NYSE: C). Apple shares tumbled 2.25 percent in regular trading on worries about CEP Steve Jobs’ health in the wake of his medical leave, while Citi shares plunged 6.04 percent on disappointing earnings results.

The euro advanced 1.01 percent to 1.3522 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.62 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 0.72 percent to $92.04/barrel and gold futures rose 0.67 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 19.19 points, DAX30 down by 3.70 points and CAC 40 down by 3.51 points.