Futures Pare Losses After Economic News

Futures shaved most of their losses Wednesday following a handful of better-than-expected economic news and after some mixed earnings reports.

Housing starts surged 15 percent in September to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 658,000 units, their fastest annual pace in 17 months, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected an increase to a 590,000-unit rate.

U.S. consumer prices logged an increase of 0.1 percent in September, their smallest gain in six months, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected core CPI to rise 0.2 percent last month.

On the earnings front, Morgan Stanleyeasily outstripped analyst estimates, though much the beat was due to an accounting move that also has helped its peers.

"It's tough to get excited about banks right now...when the earnings season is done it's going to look like Goldman's reporton a broader basis," Rob Morgan, chief investment analyst at Fulcrum Securities told CNBC.

Goldman Sachs reported a loss of $428 million on Tuesdayas revenue from underwriting stocks and bonds plunged. Meanwhile, at least four brokerages cut their price targets on the financial giant.

Meanwhile, Travelers missed estimates as the insurance company took a hit from a surge in catastrophic claims, while fellow Dow component United Technologiessaw a major profit surgeon solid sales across its aerospace and commercial construction units.

Apple tumbled after the iPhone maker missed analyst forecastsfor the first time since 2004 on Tuesday, but some analysts called the results a blip and said it presented a buying opportunity. Wedbush raised its price target on the firm to $535 from $530.

Meanwhile, Intel beat expectations, offering some support for the technology sector. In addition, at least four brokerages raised their price targets on the firm.

American Express and Ebay are slated to post earnings after-the-bell tonight.

In other company news, Groupon is planning to launch its IPO roadshow early next week, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

In Europe, Greek unions started a 48-hour strike as parliament prepares to vote on new austerity measures aimed at avoiding a default.

And EU leaders are scrambling to set the outlines of a new rescue package in time for a summit on Sunday that hopes to agree measures to protect the region's financial system from a potential Greek debt default.

—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC

On Tap This Week:

WEDNESDAY: Oil inventories, Fed's Beige Book; Earnings from AmEx, Ebay, Western Digital
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed survey, leading indicators, Fed's Bullard and Kocherlakota speak, NewsCorp investor day; Earnings from AT&T, Eli Lilly, Nokia, AutoNation, Microsoft, Capital One, Chipotle and SanDisk
FRIDAY: Fed's Kocherlakota speaks, 2011 Dodd-Frank Rulemaking Deadline; Earnings from GE, McDonald's, Verizon, Honeywell and Schlumberger

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