Investors were preparing for another August trading day of muted market moves with many market participants away on holiday, leading to relatively low-volume stock trading.
U.S. stock futures were mixed ahead of Wednesday's open.
Companies including Deere ( and )Macy's ( were set to report their quarterly results before the opening bell. )Cisco Systems ( will report after the close. )
On the economic front, the Census Bureau will release its monthly report on producer prices at 8:30 a.m. ET.
U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Tuesday. The main indexes rose between 0.2% and 0.4%.
Apple ( shares extended gains in premarket trading Tuesday after rising 4.8% during the trading day. The stock rallied on news that ) investor Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the company, calling it "extremely undervalued."
Shares of BlackBerry ( were up 2% in premarket trading, as investors grow more confident that the struggling smartphone maker can find a way to keep the company afloat. )
On Monday, BlackBerry said its board has formed a special committee to look into "strategic alternatives," including the possibility of selling off the company, that would boost sales on its new BlackBerry 10 operating system.
European markets were relatively quiet in the afternoon, finding some support from strong economic reports in Germany and France.