(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on the Wall Street amid hopes that central bankers will act to stimulate the gloomy economy.
(By Balachander) Mini Dow Industrial Average futures added 61.00 points to 12,187.00. The Nasdaq Futures rose 17.50 points to 2,506.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures edged 7.20 points higher to 1,292.30.
On the domestic front, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book, which gathers anecdotal information on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2 pm ET.
The European Central Bank kept interest rates at 1 percent, as expected.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks advanced after a report showed an unexpected rise in the U.S. services-sector activity even as investors waited for clarity from an emergency conference call by the Group of Seven finance ministers to address the euro zone's worsening debt crisis.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: TPX, CHK, UNH, ACOM, IRM, HD, MTN
In corporate news, Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (NYSE:TPX) slumped 43.2 percent in premarket after the mattresses maker issued a weak second-quarter earnings forecast and slashed its full-year guidance, citing "disappointing" sales trends at its North America business because of "unprecedented" number of new competitive product launches.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK) rose 3.18 percent in premarket. The company is in discussions to sell its pipeline assets for more than $4 billion to Global Infrastructure Partners, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Ancestry.com Inc. (NASDAQ:ACOM) jumped 14.89 percent. Bloomberg reported that the family-history research website is weighing a sale and the company is working with Frank Quattrone's Qatalyst Partners LLC to find buyers.
Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE:IRM) soared 11.48 percent in premarket after its board approved a plan to convert it to a real estate investment trust. The provider of information management services lifted its quarterly dividend by 8 percent.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) added 1.52 percent in premarket after the health insurer boosted its dividend by 30 percent and renewed its share buy back plans.
Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) increased its share repurchase program by $500 million and reaffirmed its full-year earnings and sales guidance. Shares inched higher in premarket.
Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE:MTN) may be in focus after the the Broomfield, Colorado-based company posted lower-than-expected third quarter earnings amid a drop in skier visits due to weather challenges.
European markets traded sharply higher, with Germany's DAX up 1.31 percent at 6,047.41. France's CAC40 advanced 1.65 percent to 3,035.36. The U.K. FTSE 100 added 1.26 percent to trade at 5,326.31.
Among Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.10 percent lower to end at 2,309.62. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.43 percent to close at 18,520.53. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.81 percent to close at 8,533.53. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,454.30, up 2.71 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures rallied 1.22 percent to $85.320 per barrel. Gold futures added 1.14 percent to $1,635.3 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro traded 0.26 percent higher against the U.S. dollar at 1.2485, and the British pound rose 0.65 percent against the greenback to 1.5483. The dollar gained 0.50 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.1400.