Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange December 3, 2010. REUTERS

The U.S. stock index futures point to a flat open Wednesday ahead of the Department of Labor's import price index and the Federal Reserve meeting to declare policy action.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.02 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.04 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.07 percent.

The Department of Labor will report the import price index, which measures the change in the price of imported goods and services purchased domestically, Wednesday. The index is expected to fall 0.5 in November from a 0.5 percent increase in October.

Investors are also likely to focus on the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day meeting concluding Wednesday. The FOMC statement, the primary tool used by the panel to communicate with investors about its monetary policy, will be closely watched.

On Tuesday, the U.S. stocks rose as investor confidence was lifted by hopes that the Federal Reserve will announce stimulus measures to boost the economy.

Meanwhile, according to the data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis's trade deficit, which measures the difference in value between the imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, rose to $42.3 billion in October from $41.6 billion in September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.60 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.65 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.18 percent.

European markets were mixed Wednesday as investors continued to maintain a watchful mode amid the concerns about debt crisis affecting the euro zone. Market players felt that more decisive actions from the policymakers were needed to overcome the region’s economic problems. London's FTSE 100 was up 6.71 points, Germany's DAX 30 index rose 13.60 points and France's CAC 40 declined 9.71 points.

Asian stocks rose Wednesday as investor sentiment was lifted with rise in machinery orders in Japan in October, indicating that the world’s third-largest economy is showing signs of economic revival. According to the data released by the Cabinet Office Wednesday, Japan’s core machinery orders, which measure the change in the total value of new orders placed with machine manufacturers, excluding ships and utilities, rose to 2.6 percent in October from a 4.3 percent fall in September.

China’s Shanghai Composite gained 8.02 points, Japan’s Nikkei was up 56.14 points and South Korea’s Kospi advanced 10.82 points.