(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a modestly higher opening on the Wall Street after a data showed the world's largest economy grew somewhat faster than initially thought even as investors await remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later this week.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 17 points to 13,103. The Nasdaq futures added 6.50 points to 2,787.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures inched up 2.50 points to 1,410.30.
On the economic front, a report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed that the gross domestic product grew at a 1.7 percent annual pace in the second quarter, compared with its initial estimate of a 1.5 percent increase.
Meanwhile, pending home sales for July is due at 10 am ET, with expectations of a 1.0 percent rise following a 1.4 percent decline in June.
The Fed is scheduled to release its Beige Book, a report on current economic conditions in each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2 pm ET.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks closed on a flat note as investors digested mixed economic readings look forward to speech by the Fed chief about the economy.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: HNZ, LLY, WLP, JOY, TFM, ZLC, BF.B, P
In corporate news, H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE:HNZ) retreated 2.33 percent in premarket after the ketchup and soups maker posted quarterly sales that fell short of market expectations. The company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and reiterated its growth forecast reflecting double-digit growth in Emerging Markets as well as improved productivity and higher margins.
Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) lost 1.14 percent in premarket after the company said it would stop development of an experimental drug to treat schizophrenia. A recent analysis concluded that a late-stage study on pomaglumetad methionil was unlikely to be positive.
WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP) advanced 4.11 percent after the health insurer said chief executive Angela Braly has resigned. The company named executive vice president John Cannon as interim CEO.
Joy Global Inc. (NYSE:JOY) fell 2.58 percent in premarket after the maker of mining equipments reduced its earnings forecast for 2012 following lower-than-expected quarterly results amid drop in bookings.
Brown-Forman Corp. (NYSE:BF.B) may be in focus after the beverage company posted a 25 percent jump in first-quarter earnings on sales growth of 4 percent.
Fresh Market Inc. (NASDAQ:TFM) jumped 4.56 percent in premarket after the grocery retailer raised its earnings guidance following stronger-than-forecast quarterly results amid improvement in margins.
Zale Corp. (NYSE:ZLC) may be in focus after the company reported a narrower quarterly loss as revenue grew and margins improved and the jewelry retailer forecasts positive net income for fiscal 2013.
Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) gained 5.11 percent in premarket ahead of its quarterly results. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect the Oakland, California-based Internet radio services provider to lose 3 cents a share on revenue of $100.9 million for the second quarter.
European markets traded lower, with Germany's DAX down 0.45 percent to trade at 6,971.24. France's CAC40 lost 0.54 percent to trade at 3,412.94. U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.45 percent to trade at 5,749.83.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index declined 0.96 percent to finish at 2,053.23. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.40 percent to end at 9,069.81. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged 0.12 percent lower to end at 19,788.51. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,490.81, down 0.80 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures dropped 0.67 percent to $95.68 per barrel. Gold futures dipped 0.20 percent to $1,666.4 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro dipped 0.13 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2549, while the British pound inched up 0.16 percent to 1.5844. The dollar advanced 0.15 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.6300.