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Earnings, data deluge and US politics set the stage on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, as investors prepared to wade through new data and earnings, while keeping a close eye on the potential fallout from President Trump's decision to fire the director of the FBI.

On Tuesday, Trump terminated James Comey's role at the FBI, saying in a letter that it was "essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The U.S. dollar came under pressure shortly after the news, meanwhile, markets in Europe saw slight weakness during morning trade, and Asia Pacific markets ended on a mixed note.

Stepping aside from politics, a whole host of U.S. companies are set to report earnings on Wednesday, with Whole Foods and 21st Century Fox expected to be of key focus.

On Wednesday, Snap's first earnings report since its IPO will be under close watch, with investors looking to see if Snap has been able to re-accelerate its user base following a drop last quarter, and whether it can ramp up its ad growth.

In data news, mortgage applications rose 2.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week. Import prices rose 0.5 percent, more than expected.

In the central bank sphere, more U.S. Federal Reserve members are expected to deliver speeches on Wednesday.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is expected to be at the Minnesota Business Ethics Awards, taking part in a fireside chat. Meanwhile, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will be at a luncheon presented by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce, in South Burlington.

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In commodities news, oil prices posted solid gains Wednesday, with U.S. WTI trading 1 percent higher at $46.42 around 8:37 a.m. ET, while Brent rose to $49.28 per barrel.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 ended lower after the North Korean ambassador to the UK told Sky News that the nation would proceed with its sixth nuclear test.

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