Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady open on Wednesday, after U.S. lawmakers reached a deal to fund the government past mid-January amid fresh uncertainty over the future of the Federal Reserve's stimulus program.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.09% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.09% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.13% slip.
Late Tuesday, U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a deal to reduce automatic spending cuts and the deficit levels by USD23 billion over two years. The agreement still needs to be voted by the House of Representatives on Friday, as well as a by the Senate shortly after.
But investors remained cautious amid expectations that the Fed will hold off on tapering its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program at its upcoming policy meeting scheduled for December 17-18, despite last week's stronger-than-forecast U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.
The financial sector was likely to remain in focus, a day after U.S. federal regulators approved dthe so-called Volcker rule to curb risky trading activity by banks, as part of a far-reaching overhaul of financial regulation in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Goldman Sachs, which gets the largest portion of its revenue from trading, rose 0.16% after hours.
MasterCard was also expected to be active, after the bank-card network said its board of directors approved an 83% dividend increase and a 10-for-1 stock split. The company's shares rallied 4.77% in extended trading.
Scripps Networks Interactive surged 14.49% in late trading after a report said Discovery Communications may bid for the owner of HGTV and the Food Network.
Among earnings, Costco Wholesale reported first-quarter profit that trailed estimates, sending shares up 0.45% after hours.
Elsewhere, Lululemon Athletica, up 0.06% in after-hour trade, was reportedly looking to Laurent Potdevin, an outsider who hasn't run a major retail chain, to lead the yoga-wear seller.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Nordson, scheduled to release quaterly earnings reports later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.29%, France's CAC 40 gained 0.71%, Germany's DAX added 0.22%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.27%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.71%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index retreated 0.62%.
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