Global stocks were set to rise on Wednesday, rebounding modestly from Tuesday's broad selloff over concerns about China's economy.
U.S. index futures were higher with less than two hours before markets open, suggesting that stocks will rise at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were up 20 points or 0.2 per cent. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were up 2 points or 0.2 per cent.
The gains follow a nasty start to trading on Tuesday, when the head of BHP Billiton's iron ore division said China's demand for steel was levelling off, feeding concerns that perhaps the country's appetite for all commodities is waning.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up less than 0.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index was up less than 0.2 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, though, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 per cent in overnight trading.
Commodity prices also showed some strength: Crude oil rose to $106.56 (U.S.) a barrel, up 0.5 per cent. Prices tumbled sharply on Tuesday, not only on concerns about China but also comments from Saudi Arabia that it could export more oil in response to rising prices. Gold rose to $1,653 an ounce, up 0.4 per cent.
There wasn't a whole lot behind the rebound, though. In terms of U.S. economic news, economists will be looking for a February report on U.S. existing home sales, due to be released at 8:30 a.m. (ET). As well, the Federal Reserve chairman and the Treasury secretary are set to offer their thoughts on the European debt crisis -- which has gone awfully quiet recently after fears of a messy Greek default subsided.