Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.3 percent, the Dow Jones down 0.28 percent and the Nasdaq 100 down 0.36 percent by 0938 GMT (5:38 a.m. ET).
The Nikkei average fell 1.1 percent to a 2-1/2 year closing low, while European stocks edged higher in morning trading, helped by comments from European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who said the commission will present options soon for the introduction of euro-area bonds. <.EU>
Lingering concerns over French banks, however, limited the gains. Shares in BNP Paribas dropped after the French bank announced a plan to sell 70 billion euros of risk-weighted assets to help ease mounting investor fears about French bank leverage and funding, while Societe Generale fell after Moody's downgraded the bank by one notch, citing the its exposure to Greece's debt-stricken economy.
On the macro front, investors awaited the U.S. producer price index, retail sales and business inventories data.
China will keep monetary policy tight to contain inflation while forging ahead with structural reforms and boosting consumption to sustain long-term economic growth, Premier Wen Jiabao said.
Dell aid its board authorized the repurchase of an additional $5 billion of its shares, a month after the world's No. 2 PC maker slashed its 2012 sales forecast on uncertainty in government and corporate spending.
General Electric said it would buy back Berkshire Hathaway's preferred stake, handing back a lifeline it grabbed during the 2008 financial crisis.
Google raised its offer for Motorola Mobility Holdings by 33 percent to $12.5 billion over two weeks of negotiations between the two companies, according to a regulatory filing.
A leak from a shallow-water crude oil pipeline in the Main Pass Area of the Gulf of Mexico has led Chevron to shut down its offshore Louisiana Main Pass pipeline network, the company said.
U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as investors bought shares beaten down in recent weeks and bet European leaders would take action soon to ease the Greek debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 44.73 points, or 0.40 percent, at 11,105.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 10.60 points, or 0.91 percent, at 1,172.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 37.06 points, or 1.49 percent, at 2,532.15.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)