(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower opening on the Wall Street as investors look ahead to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no specific details on the possibility for additional monetary stimulus.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures lost 41 points to 12,696. The Nasdaq Futures shed 8 points to 2,579. Standard and Poor's 500 futures dipped 4.80 points to 1,353.70.
Investors keenly wait for the Beige Book, which gathers anecdotal information on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2 pm ET. Bernanke will testify before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 am ET.
Meanwhile, a data showed housing starts in the United States rose 6.9 percent to 760,000 for June, while permits for future building construction declined 3.7 percent to 755,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Economists expected housing starts at 745,000 and building permits of 765,000. For May, housing starts and building permits were revised to 711,000 and 784,000, respectively.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks ended higher, after volatile trading earlier in the day, as investors weighed congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and corporate earnings reports.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: INTC, BAC, HON, SBH, EMC, VMW, ROVI
In corporate news, Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) reported a fall in quarterly earnings as revenue trailed market expectations and expenses jumped. However, non-GAAP profit topped consensus. Shares fell 1.50 percent in premarket trading.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) swung to a profit in the second quarter helped by a rise in mortgage banking income and continued improvement in quality of credit, and its shares inched higher in premarket.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) edged lower in premarket trading following its quarterly report. The Internet company, which named a former Google (GOOG) executive as CEO on Monday, posted earnings of 27 cents a share on flat revenue of $1.08 billion. Earnings exceeded Wall Street expectations, while revenue missed consensus.
Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) added 2.04 in premarket after the industrial conglomerate raised its full-year earnings forecast following better-than-expected quarterly earnings, spurred by strong organic sales and expansion of segment margins.
EMC Corp. (NYSE:EMC) jumped 6.41 percent after the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based developer of virtual infrastructure technologies issued an upbeat revenue view for the second quarter. VMware Inc. (NYSE:VMW), an unit of EMC, advanced 6.61 percent after posting better-than-forecast quarterly revenue and raising its guidance for fiscal 2012.
Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SBH) tumbled 8.08 percent in premarket after the Denton, Texas-based retailer of beauty products posted quarterly earnings that trailed market expectations. The company also announced commencement of a secondary stock offering of about 23 million shares.
Rovi Corp. (NASDAQ:ROVI) slumped 31.78 percent in premarket after the Santa Clara, California-based provider of digital entertainment technology services slashed its full year view, blaming a fall in second-quarter analog content protection revenue, among other reasons. It forecasts a loss from continuing operations for the second quarter.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) are due to report their quarterly results after the markets close.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX up 0.17 percent to trade at 6,588.71. France's CAC40 added 0.73 percent to trade at 3,200.15. U.K.'s FTSE 100 inched up 0.04 percent to trade at 5,631.18.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.37 percent to close at 2,169.10. Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped 0.32 percent to end at 8,726.74. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.11 percent to end at 19,239.88. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,185.01, up 0.47 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures fell 0.31 percent to $88.940 per barrel. Gold futures tumbled 1.13 percent to $1,571.6 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro traded 0.59 percent lower against the U.S. dollar at 1.2222 and the British pound dropped 0.34 percent against the greenback to 1.5601. The dollar slipped 0.14 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.9500.