A pullback in stocks was expected at the open on Wednesday, a day after the Dow and S&P 500 hit five-month highs, with pressure on the euro testing the recent view that U.S. equities were decoupling from Europe.
Comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel helped ease declines in the euro and in U.S. stock index futures. Merkel said Germany may add more funding to a permanent euro zone bailout fund.
Yesterday's rally was excellent, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont. A pullback here would be expected and eyes will be on the euro as we test the decoupling theory and whether it was a one-day wonder.
The euro fell just shy of a 16-month low against the dollar after Fitch said the European Central Bank should do more to resolve the region's debt crisis.
U.S. equities have been struggling to delink from the performance of the euro, a trend that became the norm in the last quarter of 2011 as traders fretted over possible sovereign defaults in the euro zone.
The 50-day correlation between the S&P 500 e-mini futures contract and the euro crossed the zero line this week after four months of being in positive territory, indicating they were no longer on the same path. It hit a high of 0.78 in late November, close to the 1 level that denotes a perfect correlation.
S&P 500 futures fell 3.1 points and were below 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 dropped 17 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 3.5 points.
The U.S. Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book, a summary of anecdotal information on current economic conditions around the United States, at 2 p.m. EST. The report may offer more evidence the economy's health is slowly being restored.
New York state's financial regulator is investigating several large banks, including Bank of America Corp
Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters Inc
U.S. shares climbed to a five-month high on Tuesday, led by materials stocks after an upbeat forecast by aluminum company Alcoa and strong gains in bank shares.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)