Stock index futures were lower ahead of the open Wednesday, after modest gains in the previous session, as investors remained concerned over the US economy.
The market broke a losing streak Tuesday that saw the averages drop for seven straight sessions.
But disappointing data from the U.S. services sector Tuesday helped to underscore fears over the strength of the economic recovery.
Wall Street also was waiting for details on the methodology of the European Union bank stress tests.
European stocks were lower across the board ahead of the much-anticipated details of how the EU stress tests for major banks will be conducted. Asian stock indexes ended lower across the board with the exception of Shanghai and Malaysia.
There are no major economic data releases scheduled for the session, except for two regular weekly reports. Mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association is due at 7 am New York time and the crude oil inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute.
On the earnings front, retailer Family Dollar is set to report its quarterly numbers before the Wall Street open.
In the absence of data and earnings, it's possible that investors may pay more attention to comments by Federal Reserve officials in the day ahead.
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher will speak to CNBC at 10 am, and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota will speak in Montreal at 3:30 pm.
BPCEO Tony Hayward is visiting Abu Dhabi and has reportedly met with representatives of one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. Neither the company nor wealth fund representatives have issued any official comment. BP has been exploring various options to raise cash as it continues to combat the Gulf oil spill.
Shares of BP were sharply higher in London trading and rose 2.4 percent in premarket New York trading Tuesday.