Futures edged lower Wednesday as the euro slipped following negative comments by Fitch and following the S&P 500's sharp rally in the previous session.
The euro fell to a 16-month low against the U.S. greenback, dipping below $1.27, after ratings agency Fitch urged the ECB to ramp up buying of euro zone debt to prevent a "cataclysmic" collapse of the euro. European shares also turned lower.
Meanwhile, Germany reported figures that showed its economy shrank in the last quarter of 2011, dampening hopes of an improvement in the economy.
Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext are in focus after a source told Reuters that European antitrust regulators made it clear they would recommend the deal be blocked. The news places the deal to create the world's largest exchange operator on the brink of collapse.
Dell said it plans to launch its first consumer tablet computer in late 2012. The company already has an enterprise-focused, "Streak" tablet, but now plans a bigger push into the consumer arena.
Urban Outfitters plunged after Citi cut its price target on the clothing retailer to $20 from $34. This comes after a day the company named a new CEO.
Among earnings, Lennar dipped after the homebuilder posted a lower quarterly profit. But the declines were limited after the firm still reported a sharp gain in new orders.
On the economic front, weekly mortgage applications gained in the first week of 2012as demand for both purchases and refinancing gained, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Fed’s January beige book is released at 2 pm ET.
Back in the U.S., Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces a critical test in South Carolina, a day after after a solid victory in New Hampshire.
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On Tap This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Atlanta Fed Pres speaks, oil inventories, Philadelphia Fed Pres speaks, 10-yr note auction, Beige Book, Monti/Merkel meet
THURSDAY: BoE announcement, ECB announcement, jobless claims, retail sales, business inventories, 30-yr bond auction
FRIDAY: International trade, import & export prices, consumer sentiment, Richmond Fed Pres speaks; Earnings from JPMorgan
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