Stock index futures rose ahead of the open Wednesday as commodity prices continued to surge.
Commodity prices resumed their climb, hitting new highs. Gold prices hit an all-time high of $1,460 an ounceearlier, and is now trading slightly lower, although still above $1,258, as silver also continues to climb to record levels. The dollar , meanwhile, traded flat against a basket of currencies.
London Brent crude rose to near 2 1/2-year highs to more than $122 a barrel as U.S. light crudetraded above $108 a barrel.
In the U.S., a Friday deadline for Congress to approve a spending bill draws ever closer. Negotiators will meet again on Wednesday in an effort to find a deal on budget cuts after negotiating sessions on Tuesday failed to produce an agreement.
The Mortgage Bankers Association'sweekly gauge of mortgage loan activity dropped 2 percent in the week ended April 1, led by refinancing applications, which fell 6.2 percent.
Investors were also encouraged by an improving situation in Japanwhere engineers stopped highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from the earthquake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.
Although the news brought some relief, nuclear experts warned the crisis was far from over. Concerns over the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on Japan’s economy also still lingered, with investors looking out for signals from the Bank of Japan after its two-day policy meeting Thursday that it may ease monetary policy.
M&A activity continues to dominate headlines for stocks.