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Futures pare gains on retail sales; earnings eyed

U.S. stock index futures came off highs on Wednesday, with the Dow futures dipping into negative territory, as investors digested disappointing data that showed consumer spending remained muted despite warmer weather and lower gas prices.

Retail sales data for April was flat, with the ex-autos figure up just 0.1 percent, below estimates of a 0.5 percent gain. Expectations were for the data to show modest growth, partly due to the warmer weather.

Yields climbed after briefly declining on the data. The U.S. dollar fell to session lows, while the euro crept higher to above $1.13.

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Pedestrians carry Bloomingdale's shopping bags while walking in New York.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Besides retail sales, business inventories for March are due at 10 a.m.

Major earnings due for release include fashion retailers Macy's and Ralph Lauren, both due to report before market open. JC Penney and Cisco are all due to report.

Macy's reported earnings that missed expectations, citing negative factors of West Coast port issues, winter weather and decreased spending by international tourists. The firm increased its dividend by 15 percent and raised its share repurchase authorization by $1.5 billion.

Owens-Illinois is buying the food and beverage glass container business of Mexico's Vitro for $2.15 billion in cash. Vitro is the largest supplier of glass containers in Mexico.

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U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields fell on Wednesday to trade around 2.22 percent, after choppy trading Tuesday in which yields rose as high as 2.36 percent.

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European equities were higher in morning trade on Wednesday with investors reacting to corporate earnings, higher oil prices and new economic data from the euro zone.

Growth figures for the euro zone came in at 0.4 percent for the first quarter of 2015, below market estimates, but overtaking the U.S. Germany's growth figures also came in below expectations. Elsewhere, Greek figures showed that the struggling nation was back in a technical recession.