U.S. stock-index futures signaled a higher Wall Street open on Wednesday, with investors welcoming reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to discuss the crisis in Ukraine with regional leaders.
"We had a tone change that is corresponding with news that Putin is willing to discuss his way out of the crisis. If in fact the biggest hang on this market is geopolitical, then there's a glimmer of hope here," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
Stock futures turned from mixed to higher after Bloomberg cited Interfax in reporting Putin planned to discuss Ukraine on Thursday with regional leaders attending a meeting in Moscow.
And, futures largely retained their gains after the government reported productivity falling 1.7 percent in the first quarter, versus estimates calling for a 1.1 percent drop.
Futures had been mixed ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's congressional testimony later in the day.
The Fed chair will speak at 10 a.m. ET. While she is expected to maintain her dovish stance, investors will be watching out for any hints as to the timing of future interest rate hikes.
"Yellen's prepared remarks will likely focus on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)'s broader views on the economic outlook, but the Q&A will be equally as important," said Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank in a morning research note.
"It is possible she may be asked by Senate Committee members for more clarity on the Fed's exit strategy and/or its view on the terminal funds rate—a heavily debated topic in the financial markets at the moment," he added.