U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday after disappointing results from bellwethers overseas, while investors awaited figures on U.S. durable good orders and new home sales.
Japan's Nikkei average hit its lowest close in two weeks on Wednesday in the wake of Wall Street's losses in the previous session. European stocks were down more than 1 percent in morning trade after disappointing results from ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS) and SAP (SAPG.DE) dented hopes of a quick rebound in corporate earnings.
Investors will take in September data on U.S. durable goods at 8:30 am (1230 GMT) and new home sales at 10:00 am (1400 GMT). Market-watchers are keen for more details on the health of the economy after Tuesday's weaker-than-expected consumer confidence report raised doubts about spending.
There's a real sense here that we've gotten to the point in this rally in the marketplace where we're going to need a significant positive catalyst to keep us at these levels, and we're not finding one this morning, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston.
Durable goods orders are expected to have risen 1 percent from August, according to a survey of economists by Reuters. New home sales are forecast to rise to 440,000 units.
S&P 500 futures SPc1 fell 4.4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures DJc1 lost 37 points, while Nasdaq futures NDc1 were off 3.50 points.
Visa Inc (V.N) rose in premarket trades the day after it posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, raised its dividend and authorized a stock-buyback plan. Shares of the world's largest payment network were up 1.5 percent at $75.00.
Qwest Communications International (Q.N) jumped 5.8 percent to $3.65 after it forecast 2009 adjusted earnings that would come in at the top end of its previous outlook.
A former chief executive of Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.N) became the biggest name to be linked to the Galleon Group insider-trading scandal, when the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that he leaked information about the microprocessor maker in 2008 to a hedge fund manager. AMD's shares fell 2.9 percent to $5.00.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell on Tuesday, hit by weak consumer confidence and profit-taking following the stock market's recent run-up.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI managed a slim gain after IBM Corp (IBM.N) raised its share repurchase plan to $9.2 billion and shares of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) rose on the back of BP Plc's (BP.L)(BP.N) strong earnings.
The S&P 500 is now up 57.2 percent from the 12-year closing low of March 9. At Tuesday's close, the index was 3.1 percent off its post-March 9 peak reached about a week ago.