Stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open for U.S. shares on Wednesday, building on strong gains made in the previous session, when consumer confidence data fueled hopes of an economic recovery.

At 4:24 a.m. EDT futures for the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up between 0.1 and 0.3 percent.

With a relatively thin corporate diary, investor focus is expected to remain on economic data.

Sales of existing homes are expected to have risen at an annual rate of 4.66 million units, according to the median forecast of 66 economists polled by Reuters, as low interest rates, low home prices and government stimulus stir buying interest. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. EDT.

The supervisory board of General Motors' Opel unit is holding an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday morning to decide on the German carmaker's legal separation from its U.S.-based parent company, a person familiar with the matter said.

GM on Wednesday prepared to face the fallout from a failed debt exchange that sends the largest U.S. automaker closer to a bankruptcy filing expected by the end of the months.

Polo Ralph Lauren is expected to report a sharp decline in fourth-quarter earnings to 40 cents a share, from $1.05 a year earlier.

Other companies reporting results include office supplies retailer Staples .

European shares were 0.5 percent higher, led up by banks. Analysts said central banks were pumping liquidity into the markets.

U.S. stocks climbed more than 2 percent on Tuesday as data showing the biggest monthly jump in consumer confidence in six years lifted hopes of an economic rebound, and a brokerage upgrade of Apple Inc drove sharp gains on the Nasdaq.

Shares of LED lighting maker Cree Inc rose almost 8 percent to $29.95 in extended trade after the company raised its financial targets for the fourth quarter of its 2009 fiscal year.

Oil has hit a fresh six-month high of more than $63 a barrel, though OPEC ministers are expected to leave the cartel's output unchanged at Thursday's meeting in Vienna.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Greg Mahlich)