Stock futures pointed to a slightly stronger start for Wall Street on Wednesday, ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and accompanying statement.

At 4:56 a.m. EDT, futures for the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 0.2-0.3 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 837.38 points, having hit its lowest close in nearly six weeks on Tuesday.

The Federal Reserve's interest rate setting committee concludes its two-day meeting and was expected to keep its benchmark short-term interest rate near zero.

Investors were focusing on whether the Fed might expand a $300 billion programme of Treasury purchases, and signal how it might curtail its easy-money policy as the economy recovers.

The economic outlook has improved for the first time in two years but soaring unemployment and ballooning budget deficits could knock a weak recovery off track, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Wednesday, referring to its 30 member countries.

Before the Fed decision, investors will look at more data giving clues on the strength of the U.S. recovery. Sales of new homes were expected to have increased at their fastest rate since February. Sales were expected to have risen to an annualised rate of 360,000 in May, from 352,000 in April, in data due at 10 a.m. EDT.

Durable goods orders, due at 1230 GMT, were expected show a slight decline.

Weekly data from the EIA on oil and gasoline inventories was due at 10:30 a.m. EDT, with crude prices below $70.

Sports apparel brand Nike was set to report a slight fall in quarterly earnings.

Bed Bath & Beyond , Monsanto and Paycheck

were among other companies reporting.

The S&P 500 rose on Tuesday as investors hunted for bargains a day after a steep sell-off, but another delay for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner kept the Dow in the red.

After the close, Oracle Corp shares gained 1.4 percent to $20.14 after the software maker reported profit and sales that beat forecasts.

Oracle shares in Frankfurt were up 1.2 percent.

Also after the close, Darden Restaurants fell 3 percent to $32 after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings and gave an outlook for its fiscal year 2010.

Shares in Petsmart Inc

rose 1.4 percent to $20.25 in after-hours trade after the pet products company increased its quarterly dividend to 10 cents from 3 cents and announced a $350 million stock purchase plan.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Dan Lalor)