The Dow opened lower at the open after a day of strong results for the major averages, and ahead of a day light on economic news.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 30 points at the open, with Merck, 3M and Microsoft leading the decliners. Home Depot and Bank of America rose.
Agricultural equipment maker Deere , meanwhile, reported better-than-expected quarterly results Wednesday, thanks to strong sales for tractors and harvesters in the U.S. The company's outlook for Europe, however, is weak.
Earlier, Target posted strong quarterly earningsof $679 million, or 92 cents a share, from $594 million, or 79 cents a share, a year earlier. The figures were in line with expectations, and reflected sales of profitable items like clothing, and improvement in its credit card business.
BJ's Wholesale Club, however, reported profits of $35.8 million, or 67 cents a share, in the second quarter, up from $35.1 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier, but below expectations. The big-box retailer also gave a grimmer outlookfor its full-year results.
Semiconductor-equipment maker Applied Materials and retailer Limited Brands are among those scheduled to report after the bell.
On the economic front, U.S. mortgage applications soared last week on the strongest demand for home refinancing loansin 15 months, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
The Energy Information Administration will issue its weekly read on crude oil inventories at 10:30 am. The EIA data follows Tuesday's report from the American Petroleum Institute, which showed a surprisingly large build in supplies.
If the weekly government read on oil inventories from the EIA backs up the data from the API, U.S. crude and product inventories could hit a record high.
In merger and acquisition news, mining giant BHP Billitonwent hostile with its $38.6 billion bid for Potash, following its board's rejection of BHP's initial offer as "grossly inadequate."
General Motors could file to sell its shares to the public Wednesday in an offering that will allow the automaker to pay back some of its government bailout dollars. GM is reportedly planning to list on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to Reuters.
European shares edged lower with oil firms leading the declines on concerns over the strength of U.S. crude demand and excess supply. Asian indexes ended mixed with China slipping into the red.
- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.