U.S. stocks were set to fall at the open on Wednesday as investors took a rise in U.S. interest rates as a cue to take profits a day after the market closed at fresh 2-1/2 year highs.
U.S. 10-year Treasury note yields hit new nine-month highs before a $24 billion auction of notes later on Wednesday.
Investors' attention turned to Washington where Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) before a House committee about the economy. Last week he said the recovery still needs help from the Fed despite signs of improvement.
Coca Cola Co
Blue-chip Walt Disney Co
Earnings are fine, the economy continues to show signs of life but we do have this interest rate headwind (and) Treasury yields moving higher that the U.S. equity market can't continue to ignore, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.
S&P 500 futures fell 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 dipped 8 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 7 points.
The S&P 500 faces strong resistance in the 1,324-1,333 area, with the upper limit coinciding with a 100 percent advance from the lows hit in March 2009. Short-term technical support for the benchmark kicks in at 1,313.
Weighing on financial shares, Wells Fargo & Co
American International Group Inc
The London Stock Exchange
On Tuesday U.S. stocks hit fresh multiyear highs after strong sales by McDonald's
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)