Wall Street was set to open little changed on Wednesday as investors backed off risk in a week marred by the attacks in Brussels and shortened by the Good Friday holiday.
Signs of improving business sentiment at the world's major economies helped European markets recover, but Asian shares fell as investors remained cautious.
Oil prices were slightly lower after data showing an increase in U.S. stockpiles last week rekindled concerns about a global glut.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average held onto meager gains for the year after a five-week rally helped the market recover a steep selloff at the start of the year.
"We've seen a tremendous run-up largely related to the fact that the world didn't end after all, but it is hard to see where we get the kind of improvement from here which would drive the market sustainably higher," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network in Waltham, Massachusetts.
At 8:25 a.m. ET (1225 GMT), Dow e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.05 percent, with 25,973 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 133,314 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 0.5 points, or 0.01 percent, on volume of 17,254 contracts.
Investors were also assessing recent comments from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers, supporting more interest rate hikes this year as the economy continues to show signs of resilience.
Data on Wednesday includes single-family home sales for February, due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Sales are expected to have risen 3.2 percent, suggesting that the housing market continues to recover.
Nike shares were down 4.8 percent at $61.80 in premarket trading after the world's largest footwear maker reported quarterly revenue below estimates.
Gilead Sciences was down 2.4 percent at $91.40 after a federal jury upheld the validity of two Merck patents in a high-profile dispute over Gilead's blockbuster cure for hepatitis C. Merk was up 2 percent at $54.04.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals was up 4.4 percent at $33.30, set for a third-straight day of gains.
Michaels Cos was down 2.9 percent at $26.15 after private equity sponsors cut their respective stakes further in the arts and crafts retailer.
(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Don Sebastian)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Updated Date: Mar 24, 2016 00:45 AM