U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly higher open on Wednesday ahead of the publication of the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index report.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.06 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.12 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.12 percent.
The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index, which measures the change in the number of homes under contract to be sold but still awaiting the closing transaction, excluding new construction, is due to be released after the markets open Wednesday. It is expected that the report will show a 0.5 percent decline in February after gaining 4.5 percent in the prior month.
U.S. stock markets advanced Tuesday as investor sentiment turned positive after data showed that demand for U.S. made durable goods surged in February, reinforcing the view that the world’s largest economy's recovery is gaining steam. The Dow Jones Industrial Average touched another record high, while S&P 500 ended just shy of its all-time high.
Data released by the Census Bureau Tuesday showed that durable goods, which measure the change in the total value of new orders for long lasting manufactured goods, climbed 5.7 percent in February after a revised 3.8 percent drop in January and also topped Reuters' estimate of a 3.8 percent gain.
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“Risk assets were supported as investors focused on the positive aspects of the U.S. data, with durable goods order sharply up in February and house prices continued to show upward momentum. we are not expecting a major shift in market sentiment today but European data will likely show weakness again with Eurozone Economic Sentiment Indices set to record a small decline,” a note from Credit Agricole said.
European stock markets advanced in the opening minutes of trade. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.29 percent, France's CAC-40 advanced 0.12 percent and Germany's DAX rose 0.47 percent.
Asian stock markets advanced Wednesday as improved U.S. economic data buoyed investor sentiment. Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.18 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.69 percent, while India’s BSE Sensex advanced 0.12 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite gained 0.49 percent.