US stock index futures edged higher Wednesday after losses on Tuesday, though European stocks were down in early trade as risk-averse investors avoid equities on fears about the strength of the world economic recovery.
All major U.S. stock indexes dropped more than 1 percent on Tuesday, led by energy shares, after BP’s latest “top kill” attempt to halt the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico failed and the U.S. government announced a criminal probe into the accident.
On Tuesday, BP shares extended their six-week slump with their largest intraday drop in almost 20 years—fueling speculating that the company has become easy prey to a corporate takeover.
The company's shares got some relief Wednesday, rising 1.8 percent in premarket trading a day after JPMorgan kept its overweight rating on the stock, which it said has become heavily undervalued during the spill crisis.
In a renewed effort to halt the unrelenting oil, BP sent robot submarines wielding powerful cutting tools 5,000 feet down into the ocean.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama vowed an overhaul of laws and regulations needed to prevent a repeat of the April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 people and triggered the spill.
Asian stocks declined on Wednesday in a volatile trading session, following losses on Wall Street overnight, as investors remained cautious about the weakness in China’s manufacturing sector, and Japanese financial markets were unsettled by the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his powerful No.2.
At 10 am New York time, investors will be expecting the release of pending home sales for April , with economists forecasting a rise of 4.3 percent this month, slower than March's 5.3 percent increase.
Auto sales will also be released throughout the day, with economists forecasting a drop to 3.9 million in May, down from 4.1 million the month prior.
The private sector hiring ADP employment report would normally be out today, two days before the monthly jobs report, but it was delayed by a day because of the Memorial Day holiday.
Friday's May jobs report is expected to be particularly optimistic.
Collective Brands tumbled 8.2 percent to $19.78 in extended trade on Tuesday after the company reported its first-quarter results Google expects to release its Chrome computer operating system in the "late fall", a top executive said on Wednesday, as it aims a competitive strike at rival Microsoft Windows.