U.S. stocks fell sharply Wednesday as global markets declined and investors flocked to the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

After a mixed day on the bourses Tuesday, markets look set for a weak start and investors are expected to watch quarterly earnings and economic data on housing and inflation for direction.

On Tuesday, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.19 percent and futures on the S&P 500 were down 0.23 percent while those on the Nasdaq were also down 0.08 percent. On Tuesday, the Dow closed 0.15 percent down while the S&P 500 inched up 0.12 percent while the Nasdaq climbed 0.68 percent.

On the earnings front, Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE:DVN), Host Hotels and Resorts Inc. (NYSE:HST) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) are among those scheduled to declare earnings before markets open. Marriott International Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR), Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) are slated to announce earnings after markets close.

In economic data, the producers' price index, or PPI, for January is scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. EST. Housing starts data for January is also expected to be released at the same time.

In Europe, stocks continued to be weak with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading down 0.36 percent while the FTSE 100 was down 0.27 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was down 0.37 percent and France's CAC-40 was down 0.19 percent.

In Asia, markets were mixed with Japan’s Nikkei-225 closing 0.52 percent down while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.29 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.34 percent while the Shanghai Composite was up 1.11 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.2 percent, while India’s BSE Sensex rose 0.43 percent.