U.S. stock index futures edged lower ahead of the open Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average poised just below the psychologically important 11,000-point mark.
The Dow's rise toward 11,000 points stalled again Tuesday, with the major averages barely moving following the release of the latest FOMC minutes. The Dow's modest loss was only its fifth losing session since March 4, and the Dow still stands just 30 points away from 11,000.
European shares were largely flat after the euro zone's fourth-quarter growth figure was revised lower. Asian stock indexes closed mostly in the green with Hong Kong seeing strong gains.
Wednesday's calendar is light on economic numbers, but heavy on Federal Reserve-related speakers. The only government release is a February read on consumer credit, out at 3 pm New York time, with the number expected to drop by $1 billion after a rise of $5 billion during January. The Mortgage Bankers Association is out with its weekly mortgage applications report at 7 am, and the EIA will release the oil inventory numbers at 10:30 am.
Three Fed speeches are within a 2-hour period Wednesday, starting with New York Fed President William Dudley, who will speak at the Economic Club of New York at 12:15 pm. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks to a Dallas luncheon at 1 pm, and Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig will be appearing in Sante Fe, New Mexico at 2 pm.
Following a strong auction of 3-year notes Tuesday, the Treasury will sell $21 billion in 10-year notes Wednesday, with the results available shortly after 1 pm.
It's another light day on the earnings calendar, but reports of note include retailer Family Dollar and chemical maker Monsanto, while retailer Bed Bath & Beyond will release its quarterly numbers after the closing bell.
In mergers and acquisitions news, Renault, Nissan and Daimlerofficially announced their deal to swap stakes in each other and jointly develop small cars and engines, a deal that's been widely reported to be in the works over the past few weeks.
Australia's Macarthur Coalrejected a $3.27 billion takeover bid from U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy , with analysts saying Peabody will likely have to raise that bid by about 10% to be successful.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.