U.S. stock market index futures indicated a higher opening on Wednesday, just ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks on the economy before the Senate, with investors widely expecting the Fed chief to preserve the status quo on monetary policy.
In recent days, markets have been aflutter with speculation that an uneven yet quickening recovery would provide the impetus the central bank needs to begin tapering off its massive monetary stimulus to bolster growth.
Late last week, San Francisco Fed President John Williams suggested the central bank could begin hitting the brakes on its easing as early as this summer, sentiments that were echoed by Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and Chicago's regional chief, Charles Evans.
Still, analysts believe Bernanke — supported by other growth-supportive doves who dominate the Fed's Open Market Committee (FOMC) — is unlikely to signal a policy shift. Economic growth abroad remains anemic, and pockets of softness in the world's largest economy still augur well for continued Fed support, market watchers say.
(Read More: Bernanke Expected to Deliver Dovish Message)
"For all the concerns over a Fed tapering, the central bank continues to see downside risks for the global economy despite a marked reduction in risk aversion in financial markets," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Milller Tabak, in a research note. Meanwhile, "the Fed has made clear the fiscal drag caused by the onset of sequestration and tax increases at the start of 2013."