Stocks were set to rise at the open on Wednesday, following two days of sharp losses, with developments in Greece and a U.S. monetary policy meeting on investors' minds.
French and German leaders will aim to push for quick implementation of the Greek bailout deal after the Athens government unsettled global markets by calling for a referendum on an agreement reached last week. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou won the backing of his cabinet to hold the referendum.
Papandreou's referendum call triggered a slide in global stocks. The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index fell 5.2 percent over the past two sessions, even as it closed its best month in 20 years on Monday.
The expected advance in equities is a response to the steep decline after Greece's proposal, according to Peter Jankovskis co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
He said that with the plan backed by the Greek cabinet, it could be a sign (Papandreou) knows what he's doing.
Futures added to gains after a report showed U.S. private employers added more jobs than expected last month and the September figure was revised higher.
It is not a huge amount better, but the fact that it was better than expected and there was a revision in the last month's number is a pretty encouraging sign, said Jankovskis.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 49 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.75 points.
The Fed looked set to take a breather from monetary stimulus measures, even if market turbulence heightens the chances of action later. Bernanke will hold a media briefing at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT).
On the earnings front, MasterCard Inc reported higher quarterly profit, easily beating estimates, as revenues jumped more than 27 percent. Its shares rose 7.2 percent to $358.38 in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)