Morgan Stanley topped analysts' estimates for the second quarter, reporting earnings per share of 75 cents and revenue of $8.9 billion.
According to Thomson Reuters, 64 percent of S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Tuesday morning topped earnings estimates. That compares to a long-term average of 63 percent over the past 22 years.
No U.S. economic data is due on Wednesday bar the weekly MBA Mortgage Index and crude oil inventories. WTI crude futures for August crept higher early on Wednesday, having fallen overnight.
European stocks gained early on Wednesday after a slew of earnings news there. However, shares of FTSE 250-listed Man Group tumbled more than 4 percent following the news that the hedge fund's chief executive will join Pacific Investment Management Co., Pimco, as its new CEO in November.
The U.S. dollar traded higher against a basket of currencies on Wednesday, topping 97, up from levels around 96 last week. The currency has gained this week after strong U.S. economic data, particularly relative to other major economies.
The major U.S. stock indexes closed narrowly lower on Tuesday.