Wall Street was poised for a lower open on Wednesday after disappointing results from overseas bellwethers, while investors questioned how much further the market's seven-month rally had to run.
S&P futures briefly added to losses after data showed U.S. new orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 1 percent in September, in line with expectations.
In a recovering economy, you'll get three steps forward and then two steps back. That's what you're seeing here, said David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors in New York.
We wouldn't read anything into the breather we've been having, and we would use any weakness to build our positions on the expectation that we'll have a strong end to the year.
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 about 1.4 percent after disappointing results from ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS) and SAP (SAPG.DE) dented hopes of a quick rebound in corporate earnings.
S&P 500 futures SPc1 fell 4.40 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 38 points, while Nasdaq futures NDc1 were off 2.50 points.
Investors will also take in new home sales data for September at 10:00 am (1400 GMT). New home sales are forecast to rise to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units.
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 1.7 percent at $75.15.
Several technology names moved in premarket trading.
Qwest Communications International (Q.N) jumped 3.2 percent to $3.56 after it forecast 2009 adjusted earnings would come in at the top end of its previous outlook. But Level 3 Communications Inc (LVLT.O) lost 5.2 percent to $1.29 shortly after its results.
Goldman Sachs raised Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.N) to buy on greater potential for margin expansion and cut flash memory maker SanDisk Corp (SNDK.O) by a notch to neutral. Texas Instruments gained 1.4 percent to $24.14, while SanDisk lost 1.9 percent to $22.25.
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 a weaker-than-expected consumer confidence report and profit-taking following the stock market's recent run-up, while the Dow managed a slim gain.
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.