Stock futures futures turned higher following Europe as fears of a renewed sovereign debt crisis eased somewhat and as investors wait for news on the state of the U.S. economy from the Federal Reserve.
Earlier Wednesday, stocks looked set to continue the negative momentum of the previous session. That turned around after an auction of Portuguese government bonds successfully raised 1.04 billion euros ($1.32 billion).
Tuesday marked the first losing session in five for theDow Jones Industrial Average and theS&P 500. But the major averages are up 3 to 4.5 percent so far for September — usually a month that brings overall declines.
European shares were lower, with banks leading the declines as concerns over the strength of the sector continued. Asian stocks ended mostly in the red in the wake of the lower close on Wall Street.
Applications to buy new homes rose 6.3 percent last week, the highest pace since May, but refinance applications dropped, leading to a total seasonally adjusted fall of 1.5 percent in loan requests, the Mortgage Bankers Associations reported Wednesday morning. Applications for new homes are still nearly 40 percent behind a year ago.
The main economic news of the day is the Federal Reserve's "beige book," a region-by-region assessment of the nation's economy, due out at 2 p.m. The government also will issue July consumer credit figures at 3 p.m. Economists are expecting outstanding credit to have dropped by $5.3 billion in July, following a decrease of $1.3 billion in June.
President Barak Obama travels to Cleveland Wednesday to gather support for billions of dollars in new business tax incentives and infrastructure spending. Some doubt the President can convince Congress to pass those measures ahead of the mid-term elections. Obama will also state his opposition to extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury will sell $21 billion in 10-year notes, with the results available shortly after 1 p.m. The Treasury is set to sell $13 billion in 30-year bonds Thursday.
And the weekly crude oil inventory report from the Energy Information Administration is due at 10:30 am.
In other news, BPreleased an internal reporton the April blast on the Deepwater Horizon that blamed Transocean for missing danger signs and Halliburton for cementing the well improperly.
Hewlett-Packard is suing Oracle over the hiring of its ex-CEO Mark Hurd, sparking critical comments from Oracle. And chipmaker Altera increased its guidance for third-quarter revenue growth.
- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.