Stock futures suggest a mixed open for Wednesday's trading session ahead of U.S. retail and housing data and as the market awaits the release of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve FOMC meeting.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.03 percent, and those on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.03 percent and futures on the Nasdaq Composite Index were up 0.06 percent.
Investors are expected to watch the minutes of the Fed's October meeting, which are due to be released at 2:00 EST, for more details on the central bank’s decision to continue its massive bond-buying program for the near term. However, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said late on Tuesday that the central bank would maintain record low interest rates long after its bond-buying program ends.
“The target for the federal funds rate is likely to remain near zero for a considerable time after the asset purchases end, perhaps well after” the jobless rate breaches the Fed’s 6.5 percent threshold, Bernanke said in a speech to economists in Washington, Bloomberg News reported.
Investors are also are expected to focus on retail sales data for the month of October to be published at 8:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday. Retail sales data, which measure consumer spending that accounts for a bulk of the country's economic activity, is expected to post a gain of 0.1 percent in October. Retail sales dropped 0.1 percent in the previous month.
The National Association of Realtors' existing home sales report, which measures the change in the annualized number of existing homes sold during the previous month, is scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. EST. Analysts estimate sales of previously-owned U.S. homes will rise to 5.14 million annually in October, up from a 5.29 million rate a month earlier.
Meanwhile, the consumer price inflation for October, due on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. EST, is expected to show that CPI declined to 1 percent -- a four-year-low -- from 1.2 percent recorded in the same period last year.
In Europe, stock traded down on Wednesday, as investors treaded cautiously ahead of a raft of important data releases from the U.S. Minutes from Bank of England’s latest policy meeting released on Wednesday showed that the members voted unanimously to keep interest rates and QE unchanged at 0.5 percent and at 375 billion pounds ($605 billion) respectively.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.18 percent and the FTSE was down 0.6 percent. France's CAC-40 was trading down 0.14 percent and Germany's DAX-30 was down 0.09 percent.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.33 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended down 0.84 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.71 percent and India’s BSE Sensex ended down 1.22 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.18 percent and the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.62 percent.