Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday after news of government aid for life insurers and a merger among homebuilders spurred optimism and offset a quarterly loss from Alcoa .

Insurers surged in premarket trade on news the U.S. Treasury Department plans to extend the Trouble Asset Relief Program to certain life insurers, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

S&P 500 futures rose 1.40 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 fell 4 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 8 points.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)