U.S. stock index futures briefly extended losses Wednesday after durable goods orders rose more than expected in September, but fell when transportation equipment was excluded.
Investor momentum was subdued after a report suggested that the Federal Reserve's next round of quantitative easing will be less aggressive than expected.
The Fed is expected to reveal plans to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds worth a few hundred billion dollars over several months, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many market watchers had been anticipating a more significant attempt to boost economic growth with asset purchases.
September durable goods orders rose 3.3 percent, beating expectations. The previous month saw a decline of 1.3 percent.
New home sales data for September is out at 10 am, while details of the U.S. crude inventories will be released at 10:30 am.
Meanwhile, U.S. mortgage applications for home purchasing and refinancing posted a gain for last week. Consumers sought to take advantage of near-record low interest rates for fixed-term mortgages.
On the earnings front, Dow component Procter & Gamble and cable giant Comcast posted better-than-expected results. Sprint-Nextel's loss widened but customer numbers were better than expected.
Deutsche Bank posted resilient profitfrom investment banking in the third quarter, bucking a weaker trend set by some rivals, as sales and trading of debt products rebounded in late September.
International Paper posted a much higher-than-expected quarterly profit as demand rallied, the company further diversified its business and pricing increased.
Apple said that it would delay release of its eagerly anticipated white iPhone again, this time until next spring.
Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble unveiled a color touch screen version of its Nook electronic reader as it seeks to catch up to the Kindle from Amazon.com .
The Treasury is scheduled to sell $35 billion in 5-year notes, with the results available shortly after 1 pm.
European shares were mixed but mostly higher. Asian stocks ended mostly in the red after the lackluster close on Wall Street.
Coming Up This Week:
WEDNESDAY: New home sales, oil inventories, 5-year note auction; after-the-bell earnings from Visa, Allstate, Symantec
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, natural gas inventories, 7-year note auction; before-the-bell earnings from ExxonMobil, Shell, AutoNation, Motorola, Potash, Blackstone; after-the-bell earnings from Microsoft and MetLife.
FRIDAY: GDP, employment cost index, Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment, farm prices; before-the-bell earnings from Chevron, Merck and Cigna.
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