Stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday as investors awaited a new round of earnings reports and economic data as well as the outcome of a two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting.
* The markets are also looking ahead to U.S. President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address, which will be delivered to Congress at 9 p.m. EST.
* The Federal Open Market Committee concludes a two-day meeting at about 2:15 p.m. EST, with few policy shifts expected. Investors will look for clues on how long the Fed will keep in place ultra-low interest rates and its easy-money program.
* Investors will also watch for new home sales figures, due at 10 a.m. EST. The data will come on the heels of weaker-than-expected housing reports from Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes and the National Association of Realtors.
* The U.S. Senate moved Tuesday to clear the way to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman, setting a procedural vote for Thursday, signaling that the needed votes were secured. Uncertainty over Bernanke's reappointment has hung over stocks in recent sessions.
* Earnings season remains in full swing, with Dow components Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) scheduled to report.
* Earlier Wednesday, health insurer WellPoint Inc (WLP.N) reported quarterly profit fell on lower enrollment and higher medical costs, but results topped estimates.
* S&P 500 futures rose 2.3 points and were modestly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 22 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.75 points.
* Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is expected to unveil its long-awaited tablet computer later Wednesday.
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in prepared testimony at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, denied any role in disclosures about American International Group Inc's (AIG.N) payments to banks. Geithner also defended his decisions as New York Fed chief to pay full price to retire AIG credit default swaps.
* U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday on trepidation over churning political and regulatory developments, offsetting solid earnings and improved consumer confidence data. The S&P 500 (.SPX) closed 0.4 percent lower.