Stock index futures turned mixed after news the private sector added more jobs than expected, and a day after Republicans won a substantial number of seats in races nationwide and took control of the House of Representatives.
Private-sector jobs rose by 43,000 from September to October on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to a revised loss of 2,000 jobs in September, according to the ADP National Employment Report. The September figures was first reported as a loss of 39,000.
In other jobs news, planned layoffs were slightly higher in October from a month earlier, but the pace of job cuts remained near a record low, according to outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The reports come two days before release by the government of October nonfarm payrolls, which economists forecast will show an increase of about 60,000 jobs.
In other economic news, MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse reported retail sales were strong in October, with gains seen in apparel, luxury goods, and online sales.
And a trade group reported U.S. mortgage applications, both for purchase and refinancing,dropped 5.0 percent for the week ended Oct. 29, marking the sixth time in eight weeks of slowing activity. The four-week moving average was up 0.1 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The biggest news for the markets comes later today, as the Federal Reserve delivers a statement on its intentions for monetary policy as it winds up its two-day meeting. The statement is expected at 2.15 p.m.
The central bank was expected to announce a plan to buy long-term Treasury securities, in hopes of driving down long-term rates and stimulating the economy. The timing and amount of the purchases are unclear.
In other economic news, ISM non manufacturing data and factory orders are due at 10 a.m. with manufacturing expected to edge up to 53.5 in October from 53.2 a month earlier, Briefing.com said.
President Barack Obama will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT time to discuss the election.
In corporate news, auto makers were slated to release monthly sales data beginning this morning. A sales analyst at Ford said October auto sales are projected to hit a pace of 12 million vehicles, which would be a new monthly high for 2010.
Also, third-quarter earnings reports continued to be released.
Shares of Time Warner fell in pre-market trading after the entertainment company reported revenue rose 2 percent, slightly less than expected.
CVS Caremark's shares also fell after the pharamcy retailer reported a drop in third-quarter earnings from sluggish sales in its pharmacy benefits division. CVS also cut its full year outlook.
Aetna , meanwhile, reported a surprisingjump in third-quarter earnings, and raised its profit outlook for the full year, sending the health-insurer's shares higher.
Insurance reserve adjustments hurt earnings for Pulte Group . The homebuilder lost $995 million, or $2.63 per share, compared with a loss of $361.4 million, or $1.15 per share, a year ago. The company also took charges to write down land.
The world's biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev reported core profit in the third quarter rose 9.1 percent on a like-for-like basis and forecast earnings would grow at an even faster pace in the fourth quarter.
Asian stocks rose on the election news, while the dollar was under pressure.
In Europe, shares drifted higher in early trade, supported by expectations that the Fed will boost the US economy injecting fresh liquidity in the markets.