US stock index futures reversed eaarlier losses Wednesday, turning positive on news that Chinese exports increased substantially sparked a potentially tentative return of risk appetite amongst investors.
In May, Chinese exports grew about 50 percent from a year earlier—a figure that blew past expectations and fuelled a big jump in domestic stocks.
Also, Texas Instruments shares gained 2 percent in premarket trading after the company said second-quarter earnings and revenues would be at the high end of previous forecasts.
In health care, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said a second late-stage study of its experimental gout drug failed to alleviate pain, even though a late-stage study met the trial goal of preventing gout attacks. Shares fell 6.6 percent premarket.
Eclipsys shares gained nearly 12 percent on news that it will be bought by Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Soluctions in a $1.3 billion all-share deal. Allscripts shares fell about 3 percent.
The primary Chinese stock index climbed nearly 3 percent as the buoyant growth statistics calmed investors who have been worried that a double-dip in the world economy would weigh on China.
Asian stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, with Tokyo down 1 percent but Shanghai posting strong gains. Japan's stocks moved toward a six-month low. A stronger yen weighed on exporters and investor confidence that Europe can tackle its debt woes weakened further after Fitch Ratings said the UK faced a "formidable" fiscal challenge.
Traders will be focused on statements expected from ECB President Trichet later today, looking for indications on the euro zone’s monetary and fiscal health. "We have the tools we need to ensure price stability over the medium term," Trichet said in the text of the speech to be given at the Feri foundation award ceremony, according to Reuters. The European Central Bank, which meets Thursday, is predicted to leave its key interest rate at a record low of 1 percent until the second quarter of 2011.
Berlin and Paris urged the European Commission to consider an EU-wide ban on short selling of shares and sovereign bonds in a display of solidarity that may ease concerns over recent Franco-German policy splits.
In the US, two of the country's top businesswomen have turned their attention to politics. Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett Packard, and Meg Whitman, former chief executive of Ebay, succeeded in winning primaries for their respective battles for the G.O.P. nominations for the U.S. Senate and Governor in California.
Gold rose in early trading, after hitting a new nominal high of $1,251 an ounce on Tuesday. Other commodities also rose, with oil up to $72.71 per barrel, and copper up at $6,215 per tonne, on optimism regarding Chinese business demand.
The economic data announcements scheduled for Wednesday include April’s wholesale inventories, scheduled for 10:00am New York time, with economists forecasting a rise of 0.5 percent, higher than 0.4 percent the month prior.
Also, crude inventories will be release at 10:30am New York time.
The latest corporate earnings results are expected from Men’s Warehouse, Analogic, Brown- Forman, Ciena, and Titan Machinery.
Sprint Nextel said on Tuesday it had inadvertently overstated the launch day sales of the much anticipated EVO 4G phone from HTC, which is touted as a serious competitor to Apple's iPhone 4. Sprint shares fell nearly 1 percent premarket.