U.S. stock futures notched minor gains as the market awaited data on factory orders and private-sector hiring that could underscore the economy's recent strength.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average could once again test 17,000. The index came within two points of the mark during Tuesday trading before paring gains late in the day.
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Wednesday, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJU4) rose 10 points, or 0.1%, to 16,886, while those for the S&P 500 index (SPU4) nudged up 1 point to 1,966. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index (RIXF) rose 2.8 points, or 0.1%, to 3,887.50.
In addition to the day's data, investors will be watching Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen. The central banker will deliver a lecture at the International Monetary Fund's headquarters in Washington at 11: 00 a.m. Eastern Time, then sit down in conversation with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Yellen last month said financial stability concerns are always of consideration by policy makers but they aren't shaping monetary policy "in an important way right now."
Given "the IMF and Ms. Lagarde's view of U.S. policy, this conversation could take a notably dovish turn," said Marshall Gittler, head of global FX strategy at IronFX Global, in a note Wednesday.
Before Yellen's appearance, payroll processor ADP at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time will release private-sector hiring figures for June. ADP said hiring in May hit the slowest pace in four months as service providers decreased their rate of hiring.
The ADP report will arrive before Thursday's jobs report from June from the U.S. Labor Department. It will be released a day earlier than usual because of the July 4th holiday on Friday. Economists expect 215,000 new jobs were created last month.
At 10 a.m. Eastern Time, government figures on factory orders for May are due. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a 0.4% decline in orders after a 0.7% gain in April. Last week, the durable goods report for May showed a 1% decline.
Ahead of the opening bell, Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ), whose portfolio includes Corona Beer and Svedka vodka, is expected to report earnings of 93 cents for its first quarter.
Workplace uniforms provider UniFirst Corp. (UNF) is likely to post per-share earnings of $1.42 for its third quarter.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) may be in focus given news that Chief Executive Jamie Dimon has "curable" throat cancer.
Paychex Inc. (PAYX) shares late Tuesday fell more than 1% following a run-up during the regular session as the payroll and human resources services provider reported in-line quarterly results.
In other markets, August oil (CLQ4) fell 7 cents to $105.28 a barrel, and gold futures (GCQ4) fell 20 cents to $1,326.40 an ounce.
Overnight, stocks in Asia finished higher, including a 0.3% rise of Japan's Nikkei Average . The Stoxx Europe 600 extended gains from Tuesday when it notched its strongest performance in two months.