U.S. stock index futures turned positive ahead of the open after JPMorgan posted better-than-expected earnings for its second quarter, offsetting growth concerns caused by dovish Federal Reserve minutes and moderating gross domestic product growth in China.
JPMorgan said earnings rose to $1.09 a share from 28 cents a share a year earlier, beating estimates of 67 cents a share. Shares of JPMorgan were higher in pre-market trading.
European shares edged higher, but banking stocks dragged on the indexes. Asian indexes closed lower with the growth concerns denting investor sentiment.
The Dow and the Nasdaq eked out small gains Wednesday to extend their winning streaks to seven sessions, though the S&P's fractional loss ended a string of six days of gains.
The Labor Department is out with the weekly report on initial unemployment claims at 8:30 am New York time, with economists looking for claims to come in at 445,000, down from last week's reading of 454,000.
Also at 8:30 am, the June producer price index will be released, with consensus forecasts calling for a drop of 0.2 percent following a 0.3 percent fall in May. The core PPI – excluding items in the volatile food and energy sectors - is expected to rise 0.1 percent after May's increase of 0.2 percent.
At the same time the New York Federal Reserve Bank's Empire State Survey will be released, with the monthly index seen falling to 18.5 for July versus June's reading of 19.57.
The Federal Reserve's release of June industrial production figures will be out at 9:15 am. Production is expected to have fallen 0.1 percent during the month, after a 1.3 percent rise in May. Factory capacity utilization is seen staying steady at 74.1 percent.
And at 10 am, the Philadelphia Fed index should come in at 10.0 for July, if consensus forecasts are accurate, up from June's 8.0 reading. At 10:30 am, the EIA will release the weekly natural gas inventories report.
The Fed will also be prominent on Capitol Hill this morning, with the Senate Banking Committee holding confirmation hearings for nominees Janet Yellen, Peter Diamond, and Sarah Bloom Raskin.
On the earnings front, Google and Advanced Micro Devices are scheduled to report after the closing bell.
Staying in the tech sector, Apple announced late on Wednesday that it will hold a news conference on Friday to talk about the iPhone 4, the subject of many reports about reception problems. Apple wouldn't give further details ahead of the conference.
Johnson & Johnson is expected to outline new quality control strategies for regulators today, after repeated recalls of Tylenol and other consumer medicines over the past year.
BPhas begun the test of its new well cap, hoping that it will ultimately wind up stopping the flow of oil in the Gulf for the first time since the explosion that ruptured the well in April. Shares of BP were lower in London trading and closed lower in New York trading Wednesday.
And the financial regulation reform bill is near the finish line in Washington, with the House expected to take the final votes today to send the bill to President Obama for his signature.
- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer at CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.