U.S. stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Wednesday, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on track to snap a four-day losing streak before the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's June meeting.
A drop in the S&P 500 in the prior session put the benchmark index on its longest losing streak since a six-day run of declines in May as a round of corporate earnings warnings crystallized concerns the sluggish global economy would impact profits.
Contributing to the market's recent volatility was weak volume, with some of the lowest daily trading volumes of the year coming within the past week.
Investors will look to the minutes of the most recent Fed meeting, due to be released later in the day, for reasons behind the central bank's decision to extend its Operation Twist program and insight on what may be needed to trigger a third round of monetary stimulus.
"We'll pore through it and people will try to find some evidence of Fed support coming, whether we find it or not I don't know - that is going to be a continuing debate going forward," said Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago.
"I don't think we've seen enough yet to bring them on, but of course there are those hoping for that."
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said on Tuesday the U.S. economy is still some way from needing more asset-buying stimulus.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.5 points and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 17 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.
Eli Lilly and Co slipped 1 percent to $42.45 in premarket trade after the company said its experimental schizophrenia drug known as mGlu2/3 did not work in a late stage clinical trial.
Economic data showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed slightly by 3.8 percent in May as a rise in exports, including those bound for Europe and China, eased the pain of a slowdown in the broader economy.
Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), the Commerce Department will report wholesale inventories for May. Economists in a Reuters poll expect inventories to rise 0.3 percent versus a 0.6 percent increase in April.
The bankrupt parent of American Airlines said it will press ahead with evaluating potential mergers and at least five airlines will be considered - US Airways Group Inc, JetBlue Airways Corp, Alaska Air Group, Republic Airways' Frontier Airlines and Virgin America.