U.S. stock index futures suggest a mixed opening to markets on Wednesday ahead of the release of wholesale inventories data from the U.S., and after Syria's positive response to a Russian proposal to secure the former's chemical weapons stockpile brought the crisis closer to a diplomatic conclusion.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.1 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were flat and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.17 percent.
Investors are closely watching developments in Syria, as a military intervention by U.S.-led forces on Syria could cause havoc in the financial markets. However, the risk of an immediate strike was averted after Syria agreed to a Russian proposal to surrender its chemical weapons to the international community on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama, who in a primetime address from the White House argued for the necessity to punish Bashar Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons, made it clear that he prefers a diplomatic solution to a military strike to resolve the stand-off.
Investors are also expected to take cues from the wholesale inventories report to be released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Wednesday at 10 a.m. EDT. The report, which measures the change in the total value of goods held in inventory by wholesalers, is expected to increase by 0.3 percent in July after a 0.2 percent decline in June.
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In Europe, markets traded mixed on Wednesday, after a solid rally on Tuesday, as fears of a U.S.-led military strike on Syria faded and positive economic data from the UK and China buoyed investor sentiment. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.18 percent, Germany's DAX-30 was up 0.41 percent and France's CAC-40 was trading flat.
London’s FTSE 100 was showing a slight recovery, turning flat after being down 0.2 percent, after data released by the U.K. government showed that unemployment rate beat expectations to drop to 7.7 percent in the period from May to July from 7.8 percent in the February to April period.
The Claimant Count Change, which measures the change in the number of unemployed people in the U.K. during the reported month, declined by 32,600 in August, compared to a decline of 36,300 posted in previous month, but better than analysts’ expectation of a 22,000 decline.
In Asia, most markets took a break after Tuesday’s rally, with Japan’s Nikkei ending flat, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.64 percent. In China, the Shanghai Composite index ended up 0.15 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.17 percent.
South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index added 0.49 percent while India’s BSE Sensex was trading flat in late-afternoon trade.