Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday following the previous session's rally, with futures for the S&P 500 down 1.0 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.9 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.9 percent at 4:33 a.m. EDT.
Tokyo's Nikkei average gained 1.1 percent, but European stocks were mixed in early trade, struggling to extend the previous session's rebound from a 20-percent dive over 2-1/2 weeks, with renewed pressure on Italy and Spain dragging down shares from the two debt-stricken countries.
U.S. Treasuries pushed higher on Wednesday and benchmark yields dipped back near record lows hit the previous day after the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep rates near zero for at least another two years prompted more investors to pile in.
Gold held steady, hovering near a lifetime high around $1,778 an ounce struck in the previous session, but further gains could be capped by a rebound in equities after the U.S. Federal Reserve's vow to keep rates near zero.
HSBC is selling its $30 billion U.S. credit card arm to Capital One Financial Corp for a premium of $2.6 billion, as Europe's top bank streamlines its mammoth operations by getting rid of unwanted businesses.
The world's biggest food group Nestle raised its full-year outlook after strong demand for its Maggi and Nescafe brands in emerging markets helped it post a forecast-beating 7.5 percent rise in underlying first-half sales.
U.S. stocks initially zigzagged on Tuesday after the Fed promised to hold interest rates low for at least two years, before strongly rallying in late trading, led by a rebound in financial shares. But the statement also sparked economy fears driving oil lower on Tuesday, while Treasuries rebounded.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 429.92 points, or 3.98 percent, to end at 11,239.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 53.07 points, or 4.74 percent, to 1,172.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 124.83 points, or 5.29 percent, to 2,482.52.
A Reuters poll showed on Tuesday that Wall Street economists see odds of around one-in-three the United States will slip back into recession, heightening expectations the Fed will launch another round of unconventional credit easing.
On the earnings front, investors awaited results from companies including Cisco Systems, News Corp, Computer Sciences and Macy's.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)