Stock index futures erased their early losses to turn higher Wednesday as investors cheered an upbeat retail sales report that showed the biggest gain since last September.
The Dow eked out a gain for the eighth-consecutive session on Tuesday to post another closing high at 14,450.06. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 snapped a seven-day winning streak, logging its first drop in the month of March. If the Dow ends higher Wednesday, it will be the index's first nine-day rally since 1996.
(Read More: 'Dangerously Close to Highs': Adami)
U.S. retail sales jumped 1.1 percent in February, according to the Commerce Department, after a revised 0.2 percent gain in January. Economists had expected to rise 0.5 percent, according to a Reuters survey.
(Read More: Retail Stocks Propel Market Higher)
Meanwhile, import prices gained 1.1 percent in February, according to the Labor Department, due to the increase in fuel prices. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected a reading of 0.5 percent. And export prices climbed,fueled by higher corn and soybean prices, in addition to higher costs for industrial goods and materials, capital goods and autos.
Weekly mortgage applications declined last week as interest rates spiked, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Also on the economic front, business inventories for January will be reported at 10 am ET. Economists expect a gain of 0.4 percent, according to a Reuters survey, against a 0.1 percent increase in December.
(Read more: S&P at 2000 by 2015: Strategist)
Among earnings, Express tumbled after the apparel retailer provided a full-year outlook that widely missed forecasts.
Boeing edged higher after the Federal Aviation Administration approved the aircraft manufacturer's plan for the redesigned Dreamliner 787 battery system.
Apple edged lower following a report that showed shipments of tablets running Google's Android will top the iPad this year for the first time, according to research house International Data. Apple has plunged nearly 40 percent from its all time high of $705 a share back in September.
Reuters reported that Democrats on Wednesday will unveil a U.S. budget blueprint that attempts to slice federal deficits by $1.85 trillion over 10 years through an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases on the rich.
European shares declined after a weak Italian debt auction. Worries over the euro zone have resurfaced over the last few weeks amid jitters over Italy's credit rating downgrade in the wake of the nation's inconclusive election results.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Business inventories, oil inventories, 10-yr note auction
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, PPI, current account, Fed Governor Raskin speaks, natural gas inventories, 30-yr bond auction, Fed balance sheet, money supply, Samsung Galaxy S4 release; Earnings from Aeropostale
FRIDAY: Quadruple witching, CPI, Empire State mfg survey, Treasury int'l capital, industrial production, consumer sentiment, credit card default rates
More From CNBC.com: