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Futures Hold Gains After GDP Report

U.S. stock index futures held their gains across the board Wednesday even after the final read on first-quarter gross domestic product came in weaker than expected.

The U.S. GDP expanded at a tepid 1.8 percent annual rate, according to the Commerce Department in its final estimate, cut from a previously reported 2.4 percent pace. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-quarter GDP growth would be left unrevised at 2.4 percent.

"The 1.8 percent GDP is particularly alarming...If this is the best we can do, even after income bumps and an aggressive QE program, the domestic economy is even more fragile than what we already believed," said Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital. "There is a clear disconnect from what the Fed is reviewing and Main Street is living. The pathetic part of it all is Wall Street will see this as good news as stocks will most likely rally on hopes of an extended period for more bond buying."

Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota told CNBC that the central bank needs to be clearer on the future of short-term interest rates, not just on when the central bank might start to taper its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program.

Kocherlakota added that the market volatility really comes from uncertainty on when the Fed funds rate might go higher.

Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) released a statement saying that it would provide cash to institutions that needed it. But despite the subsequent uptick in markets, analysts warned there was still plenty of uncertainty in the banking system.

(Read More: Goldman Sees Struggle Ahead for Chinese Stocks)

"Analysts feel this PBOC intervention will only be supportive in the short-term, as the bigger picture is about banks deleveraging and creating a more sound banking system," wrote Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG.

European shares were higher after research firm GfK's forward-looking consumer sentiment indicator for Germany rose in July, topping expectations.

The Treasury's auction of $35 billion in five-year notes will be watched with more interest than usual on Wednesday, given the rise in bond yields since the Fed signaled in May that its bond purchases could be scaled back this year. An auction on Tuesday saw two-year Treasurys yield 0.43 percent, their highest level since May 2011.

"Treasurys may be finding their footing," said Gabe Mann, a Treasury strategist at RBS. "Pretty much everything is crossing into oversold conditions across the curve."

(Read More: Waiting on a Bond Market Auction for Cues)

Meanwhile, rates on home mortgages soared to the highest level in nearly two years last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, as the recent selloff in bonds after the Fed laid out a plan to scale back its stimulus program drove borrowing rates higher.

Among earnings, General Mills slipped after the cereal maker posted earnings on that met Wall Street forecasts, but gave a lighter-than-expected outlook.

And Monsanto edged lower after the world's largest seed company said its earnings declined, but sales remained higher. The company also affirmed its profit outlook.

Bed Bath and Beyond and Paychex are among notable companies scheduled to report after the close.

(Read More: Earnings Season Already Looks Like a Train Wreck)

A second wrongful death suit has been filed against energy drink maker Monster Beverage, after a 19-year-old suffered cardiac arrest after consuming the drink.

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