U.S. stock index futures point to a lower open Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve Bank's Beige Book report and as the investors await another round of corporate earnings reports.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.14 percent to 14,665.00, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.59 percent to 1,559.50 and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.35 percent to 2818.00.
Investors await the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book at 2 p.m. ET. The report provides anecdotal insight into current economic trends and challenges in each of the 12 federal districts. It's released eight times a year, two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets. The FOMC uses the report to help it make decisions on short-term interest rates.
Investors are also expected to keep a close watch on corporate earnings reports. Among the companies expected to report results before the market opens on Wednesday are: Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT); Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT); Huntington Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: HBAN); The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK); Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE: DGX); Mattel Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT); St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ); Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC); Dover Corp (NYSE: DOV) and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC).
Those reporting results after the closing bell include American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP); EBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY); Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE); SLM Corp. (Nasdaq: SLM) and SanDisk Corp. (Nasdaq: SNDK).
In the U.S., stocks rebounded more than 1 percent Tuesday in regular trading as Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson posted strong earnings results and better-than-expected economic data cheered markets.
New home construction in the U.S. increased more than forecast in March, and consumer price inflation fell for the first time in four months. Meanwhile, U.S. factory output declined in March, which has raised hopes that the Federal Reserve would undertake further monetary easing measures to support economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth outlook for 2013, citing spending cuts in the U.S. and persistent volatility in the euro zone. The IMF lowered its forecast for global economic growth to 3.25 percent in 2013, down from its January forecast of 3.5 percent. Growth forecast for the U.S. and euro zone has been slashed to 1.2 percent.
Nevertheless, the agency raised Japan's 2013 growth forecast to 1.6 percent from 1.2 percent, and its 2014 forecast to 1.4 percent from 0.7 percent. The IMF noted that the aggressive stimulus measures from Japan's government and the central bank might boost economic growth in world’s third-largest economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.08 percent to 14,756.78. The S&P 500 index advanced 1.43 percent to 1,574.57. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index increased 1.50 percent to 3,264.63.
European markets gained in the opening minutes of trade ahead of the release of key employment data in the U.K.
London's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent. France's CAC-40 was up 0.7 percent, while Germany's DAX Index advanced 0.5 percent.
Asian stock markets traded higher Wednesday, boosted by a strong U.S. housing report and better-than-expected corporate earnings that buoyed investors’ confidence in the recovery of the world’s largest economy.
The Nikkei had earlier closed at 13382.89, up 1.22 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.08 percent to 1,923.84 toward close.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.47 percent to close at 21569.67. In China, the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.05 percent to 2,193.80, with fears about bird flu mounting after a popular herb used to treat the infection ran out-of-stock.