Stock index futures extended losses Wednesday after an initial uptick as data showed June orders for durable goods, excluding transportation, rose less than forecast despite overall orders posting their largest advance since July 2007.
The news lately has been good at least on the surface for home sales, with a drift higher in sale prices giving stocks a mild boost Tuesday.
Wednesday's first economic reading saw mortgage applications rise 7.5 percent, though the gain came mostly from refinancing.
Orders for durable goods rose last month by the largest amount in two years, but the rise was mainly fueled by the volatile transportation sector.
Away from the domestic side, German business confidence rising to its highest since last September, as measured by the Ifo business climate index.
The morning began with news of Senator Ted Kennedy's death at age 77. Kennedy died after a long battle with a brain tumor, having served in the Senate since 1962, making him the third longest serving senator in history.
Kennedy was considered one of President Obama's major allies in his health care reform initiative, and the President issued a statement saying he and First Lady Michelle Obama were "heartbroken" to learn of Kennedy's death.
At 10 am New York time, July new home sales figures are expected to show a 1.6 percent month over month increase, to an annual rate of 390,000 units.
At 10:30 am New York time, the Energy Department will be out with its weekly read on oil inventories.
The Treasury will auction $39 billion in 5-year notes with results available shortly after 1 pm New York time. The Treasury sold $42 billion in 2-year notes yesterday and will follow up tomorrow by selling $28 billion in 7-year notes.
Toyota will cut production in response to slumping sales, with cuts possibly reaching 700,000 vehicles, or about 7 percent of the company's global production capacity.
— Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.