Futures shaved earlier losses Wednesday after durable goods orders jumped much more than expected in July, but still remained under pressure after Moody’s downgraded Japan’s economy by one notch on concerns over the size of the country’s budget deficit.
The agency had warned in May that it may downgrade Japan's Aa2 rating due to heightened concerns about its faltering growth prospects and a weak policy response to deal with a bulging public debt, now twice its $5 trillion GDP.
Many investors are still waiting on a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday at a banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the hope that he may announce some form of monetary policy to help support the U.S. economy.
Stocks closed near the day's highs in the previous session, with the Dow posting its biggest gain in almost two weeks, despite a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Virginiathat shook parts of the U.S. East Coast and after investors shrugged off a handful of disappointing economic news.
On the economic front, durable goods orders jumped more than expected in July to 4 percent after a revised 1.3 percent drop in June, according to the Commerce Department. Economists were expecting orders to gain 2 percent, according to a Reuters poll.