U.S. stock index futures were off their best levels Wednesday, but optimistic comments from China's new leader helped limit losses.
Citigroup gained after the financial giant announced it will cut 11,000 jobs as part of restructuring actions in an aim to further lower expenses and improve efficiency. Additionally, the bank said its fourth quarter pre-tax charges will total approximately $1 billion and projected annual expense savings will exceed $1.1 billion starting in 2014.
The private sector created 118,000 jobs in November, according to the latest ADP jobs report, but was still short of expectations for a gain of 125,000. The report comes ahead of Friday's closely-watched government non-farm payrolls report.
Meanwhile, productivity increased at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest in two years, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected a reading of 2.7 percent. Productivity increased at a 1.9 percent rate in the second quarter.
Also on the economic front, factory orders and ISM's November non-manufacturing index are both scheduled for release at 10 am ET.
Also helping with gains, a speech from China's new leader Xi Jinping fueled optimism that the country would continue to boost global growth. (Read More: China's New Leader Gives Market a Fillip, but Will It Last?)
In Europe, PMI figures suggested that the downturn in the euro zone eased slightly in November.
Facebook climbed after Nasdaq OMX announced late Tuesday evening that the social-networking giant will be added to the Nasdaq-100 index, replacing Infosys. Infosys will be moving its listing to the NYSE from the Nasdaq.
Best Buy edged higher after the consumer-electronics retailer said it is changing the payment date of its regular quarterly dividend to December from early January.
The looming U.S. "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and benefit cuts seemed no closer to being resolved on Tuesday evening, and stock market indexes finished down for the day.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama will continue a series of meetings with the business community by traveling to the Business Roundtable group of chief executives of major U.S. corporates.
Among earnings, Men's Warehouse is scheduled to post results after the closing bell.
Weekly mortgage applications gained last week as loan requests for new purchases hit a new high for the year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Factory orders, ISM non-mfg index, oil inventories; Earnings from Men's Warehouse
THURSDAY: BoE announcement, Challenger job-cut report, ECB announcement, jobless claims, quarterly services survey, Apple/Samsung hearing; Earnings from H&R Block, Lululemon, Smithfield Foods, Cooper Cos.
FRIDAY: Employment situation, consumer sentiment, consumer credit
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