NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures were higher Wednesday, pointing to a partial recapturing of the previous session's losses as the Federal Reserve is expected to again refrain from signalling interest rate hikes.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.5 points to 1,095 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 8.25 points to 1,886.25. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43 points.
U.S. stocks finished sharply lower Tuesday, hurt by disappointing housing data as well as a judge ruling against an Obama administration moratorium on deepwater drilling -- a decision the market interpreted as spurring protracted legal battles ahead. The S&P 500 dropped 1.6%.
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Attention turns to the Federal Open Market Committee, which releases its interest rate decision at 2:15 p.m. Eastern. Economists don't expect a rate move or even a changing of the language saying rates will be kept low for an extended period of time.
Since the last Fed meeting, there's been the flaring up of the European sovereign debt crisis, mixed U.S. economic data, including core inflation at historic lows, and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said BMO Capital Markets economists in a note.
"We wouldn't be surprised if the Fed put a bit more emphasis on the downside risks to their outlook," they wrote.
Wednesday's session features data on May new-home sales, which are expected to drop sharply, as existing home sales did in data released on Tuesday.
Tenus Brosens, an economist at ING, said the government may extend the deal closing deadline for a home buyer tax credit by three months.
"The tax party has ended, and all are politely asked to leave. The remaining partygoers may just get a little more time to finish their drinks," Brosens said in a note to clients.
Overseas, minutes from the last Bank of England minutes revealed the first vote in favor of hiking rates from historically low levels of 0.5%. Seven other members voted to keep rates at 0.5%. The lone rate hike call sparked gains for the British pound /quotes/comstock/21o!x:sgbpusd (CUR_GBPUSD 1.4948, +0.0144, +0.9727%) against the U.S. dollar and the euro.
Euro-zone manufacturing and services activity grew at a slower rate in June, according to an early reading of purchasing managers indexes released Wednesday.
Adobe Systems /quotes/comstock/15*!adbe/quotes/nls/adbe (ADBE 30.38, -2.38, -7.27%) slipped 2% in premarket trade after reporting an 18% profit rise, wrapping analyst estimates on its current quarter earnings outlook and authorizing a $1.6 billion stock buyback.
Jabil Circuit /quotes/comstock/13*!jbl/quotes/nls/jbl (JBL 15.14, +1.55, +11.41%) climbed 11% in premarket trade after reporting stronger-than-forecast fiscal third-quarter earnings.
CarMax /quotes/comstock/13*!kmx/quotes/nls/kmx (KMX 21.74, +1.74, +8.70%) leaped 10% on a decision to be added to the S&P 500 index, replacing XTO Energy, which is being acquired by Exxon Mobil.
After the close, Nike /quotes/comstock/13*!nke/quotes/nls/nke (NKE 72.68, +0.22, +0.30%) and Bed Bath & Beyond /quotes/comstock/15*!bbby/quotes/nls/bbby (BBBY 41.46, +1.17, +2.90%) are due to report earnings.
The worries about housing data weighed on international equities, with the Nikkei 225 dropping 1.9% in Tokyo and the Stoxx Europe 600 index losing ground for a second day.
Gold futures edged up $1.20 an ounce, while oil futures fell 43 cents a barrel.
Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief. Nick Godt is MarketWatch's markets editor, based in New York.