Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, as investors were eyeing the minutes of the Federal Reserve's October policy meeting later in the day, following comments by outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke late Tuesday.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.09% loss, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.13% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.03% dip.
Bernanke said the Fed would maintain its accommodative monetary policy for as long as needed and would taper its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program only when it was sure that improvements in the labor market would continue.
Interest rates will probably remain near zero for a "considerable time" after the bank winds up asset purchase program, he added.
Last week Janet Yellen, who has been nominated to succeed Ben Bernanke, reiterated the need for continued stimulus to ensure a robust economic recovery.
Financial stocks were expected to be active, after JPMorgan Chase on Tuesday reached a record USD13 billion settlement with federal and state authorities to resolve claims over its sales of mortgage-backed securities during the housing crisis.
Shares in the U.S. lender were down 0.27% in pre-marke trade.
Yahoo was also likely to be in focus, as the U.S. Internet portal boosted its stock-buyback plan by USD5 billion, returning more cash to shareholders in a bid to revive the company's growth. Following the news, Yahoo shares surged 3.15% in early trading.
In the tech sector, Nokia Oyj investors were said to have cleared the sale of its mobile-phone unit to Microsoft in a USD7.4 billion deal.
Apple shares were steady pre-market, after a U.S. appeals court said the company can pursue a ban on sales of some Samsung Electronics Co. products found to infringe its patents on smartphone features.
Other stocks expected to be in focus included JC Penney and Deere, scheduled to report earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 slid 0.43%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.42%, Germany's DAX fell 0.28%, while Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.52%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.18%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index shed 0.33%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was data on retail sales and consumer prices.
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