Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.4 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.12 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.28 percent at 5:10 a.m. EDT.

Investors were bracing for another raft of company results as well as U.S. durable goods and housing sales figures, seeking more insight on the health of the economy a day after disappointing consumer confidence data.

Visa Inc will be in focus after the world's largest payment network posted a rise in quarterly earnings, raised its dividend and authorized a share repurchase plan.

Shares of Visa traded in Frankfurt were up 1.8 percent.

Oil edged down toward $79 a barrel on Wednesday, giving up some of the previous day's 1.1 percent gain on weaker Asian equities and a steady dollar, but losses were limited after industry data showed a surprise large drawdown in U.S. crude inventories.

Japan's Nikkei average hit its lowest close in two weeks on Wednesday in the wake of Wall Street losses, while European stocks were down 1 percent in morning trade, after disappointing results from bellwethers ArcelorMittal and SAP dented hopes of a quick recovery in company results.

The financial sector will be in the spotlight after The U.S. Treasury Department is in talks with GMAC Financial Services Inc about a possible third cash infusion to the company, an Obama administration official confirmed on Tuesday night.

Kenneth Feinberg, the U.S. Treasury bailout program's special master for compensation, who cut total compensation for top earners at seven bailed-out firms last week, increased base salaries at the companies, the Wall Street Journal said, citing its own analysis of U.S. Treasury data.

A former chief executive of Advanced Micro Devices 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.

Shares of E*Trade Financial Corp fell in extended trading on Tuesday after the company reported quarterly results, while shares of Apollo Group Inc plunged in extended trading on Tuesday after the private education provider posted a 60 percent drop in quarterly profit and said regulatory authorities had launched an informal probe over its revenue recognition practices.

The day's earnings calendar includes quarterly results from International Paper Co , ConocoPhillips and Coca Cola Enterprises .

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell on Tuesday as investors booked profits following the stock market's recent run-up, while a weaker-than-expected reading on a measure of consumer confidence raised doubts about spending.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 14.21 points, or 0.14 percent, to 9,882.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 3.54 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,063.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> declined 25.76 points, or 1.20 percent, to 2,116.09.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)