U.S. stocks were set for a higher open on Wednesday after the head of the European Commission said it will present options for joint euro zone bonds, a tool that investors view as a step forward to addressing the region's debt crisis.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the body will soon present proposals for common euro bonds. Germany has been opposed to debt jointly issued and underwritten by all 17 members of the bloc.

The markets were also lifted after sources said the leaders of Germany, France and Greece will hold a conference call later Wednesday on Greece's fiscal crisis.

The cautious optimism that led to stocks' positive finish yesterday has carried over into today, with hopes for a solution to the European debt drama once again lifting sentiment, said Andrea Kramer, strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

S&P futures rose 6.9 points and were above 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 were up 67 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 14 points.

S&P 500 index futures briefly pared gains after data showed growth in U.S. retail sales stalled in August. Story:

Another report showed U.S. producer prices were unchanged in August, held down by a drop in energy goods costs.

Financial stocks were in the spotlight. BNP Paribas dropped after the French bank announced a plan to sell 70 billion euros of risk-weighted assets, while Societe Generale fell after Moody's downgraded the bank, citing its exposure to Greek debt.

Dell Inc's board authorized an additional share repurchase one month after the world's No. 2 personal computer maker slashed its 2012 sales forecast on uncertainty in government and corporate spending.

General Electric Co will buy back Berkshire Hathaway Inc's preferred stake, handing back a lifeline from the 2008 financial crisis.

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as investors bought shares beaten down in recent weeks and bet European leaders would take action soon to ease the Greek debt crisis.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)