U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, as the Federal Reserve's gloomier assessment of the economy rattled investors and the central bank's measures to support the fragile recovery failed to reassure world markets.
Here's what analysts and others are watching before the bell:
Daniel Dicker, an independent oil trader and contributor to TheStreet.com, says he doesn't see a big rally in natural gas prices for the next two quarters.
"These shale players are dead in the water of environmental pressures and a cool White House," he says. "Look at a chart of the natural gas curve of prices. That is the indicator I'm using to gauge when these drilling stocks on shale plays will begin to make sense."
In the meantime, his energy play of choice is in off-shore drillers.
Dicker says he believes the drilling moratorium will lift in November, "and likely even sooner than that."
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