The U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Wednesday ahead of the Commerce Department's retail sales report.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.53 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.42 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.76 percent. 

Investors are likely to focus on the October retail sales report, a foremost indicator of consumer spending which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday. Economists predict the report, measuring change in the total value of inflation-adjusted sales at the retail level, will show a 0.2 percent decrease in October against the 1.1 percent rise in September.

Meanwhile, the core retail sales, which measure the change in the total value of sales at the retail level in the U.S., excluding automobiles, are expected to grow 0.2 percent in October, compared to the 1.1 percent rise in September.

On Tuesday, the U.S. stocks fell as investors were worried that President Barack Obama would face the colossal task of resolving the fiscal cliff.

“President Obama in the White House with the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and Democrats controlling the Senate, was the worst possible outcome for the fiscal cliff negotiations. The suggestion was that both sides would feel they have a mandate to double down on their positions, with the result being a catastrophic stand-off that plunges the economy into recession,” Cpaital Economics said in a note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.46 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.40percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.70 percent.

European markets fell Wednesday as investor sentiment continued to be weighed down by the concerns that the European Central Bank would take more time to release the next tranche of bailout package to Greece.

London's FTSE 100 was down 22.83 points, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 13.28 points and France's CAC 40 declined 19.34 points.

Asian stocks rose Wednesday amid the hopes that China’s economy was on the path of recovery. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 158.05 points, Japan’s Nikkei was up 3.68 points and South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index gained 4.34 points.