With the Dow near an all-time high, investors head into Wednesday looking at economic data and the latest round of corporate earnings.
The Census Bureau reported that retail sales inched up 0.1% in January, following a 0.5% rise in the previous month. Data on business inventories will be released at 10 a.m. ET.
U.S. stock futures were slightly higher ahead of the open, after finishing mixed on Tuesday. The Dow is just 1.2% away from its record high set in October 2007. The S&P 500 has also had a solid run, coming within 4% of its record high, also set in October 2007.
On the corporate front, Deere ( reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations before the opening bell, sending shares higher. Earnings from )Thomson Reuters ( also beat estimates, and )Cisco Systems ( is up after the bell. )
Meanwhile, shares of Groupon ( jumped 6% after Sterne Agee upgraded the company to buy from neutral and gave the stock a $9 price target. )Comcast ( shares climbed 8% after news late Tuesday that the cable company will buy out )General Electric's 49% stake in NBCUniversal. GE ( shares were up 4%. )
Trulia ( shares climbed 16% after reporting better-than-expected sales, and shares of )Cliffs Natural Resources ( dropped 13% after the mining company announced plans to sell stock and was downgraded by several analysts. )
Stocks have had a strong run so far this year and investors have been hitting the pause button in anticipation of a pullback as they await the next catalyst to buy, or sell.
European markets were mixed in quiet morning trading. French bank Societe Generale ( fell sharply after reporting a deeper fourth quarter loss than analysts were expecting. )Asian markets ended mixed. Japan's Nikkei closed down 1% one day ahead of the release of new GDP figures and the Bank of Japan's latest policy announcement.