Stock index futures fell on Wednesday as oil futures turned lower and ahead of durable goods and new home sales data.

Investors will eye July durable goods orders, due from the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and new home sales data, set for 10 a.m. EDT, for fresh insight into the health of the U.S. economy.

Durable goods are a key number because the whole theme about the second-half recovery is predicated on an inventory build and a pickup in business investment, and this is definitely a good measure of that, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

A lack of follow-through from European stocks after a key measure of German business sentiment rose to its highest since September 2008 is also hurting futures, Boockvar said. Key European stock indexes were down.

Crude oil fell 1 percent on top of a decline of 3 percent on Tuesday after data showed a rise in U.S. crude stocks. On Tuesday, the S&P energy index <.GSPE> fell 1.4 percent.

S&P 500 futures fell 1.5 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 dropped 7 points and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 2.25 points.

U.S. mortgage applications rose for a second straight week, with demand for home refinancing loans rising to its highest level since early June, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

U.S. stocks ended higher Tuesday as the economic data and the reappointment of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke reassured investors and offset concerns about red ink in the federal budget.

(Writing by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)