"We expect improvement in the labor market over the coming quarters to initiate a slowdown in the Fed's pace of balance sheet expansion in the fourth quarter of this year. This would mark the beginning of the process towards the first Fed funds rate hike but we do not expect the Fed to hike rates before the first quarter of 2015," a note from Danske Bank said on Wednesday.
European markets moved into positive territory as investors watched to see if Russia, rather than Europe, would come to the aid of Cyprus. Lawmakers in Cyprus overwhelmingly voted against a controversial EU bank bailout deal on Tuesday.
Cyprus's finance minister Michael Sarris who is in Moscow for talks with Russia told CNBC that the country was now "looking beyond" extending an existing loan agreement with Russia, prompting speculation that Russia could come to Cyprus's financial aid.
On the economic front, weekly mortgage applications fell for a second week as interest rates climbed to seven-month highs, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Among earnings, FedEx slumped after the package-delivery company posted lower-than-expected earnings due to weakness in its air express business.
Lennar edged higher after the homebuilder reported earnings that exceeded Wall Street estimates as lower interest rates and rising rents increased home sales.
General Mills slipped after the cereal maker forecast a decline in earnings. Still, the company posted a higher-than-expected profit.
Oracle and Jabil Circuit are among notable companies scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell.