- U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady open on Wednesday, although comments by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Tuesday continued to support equity markets.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.03% uptick, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.04% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.12% rise.

In her first Congressional testimony since her appointment as Fed Chair, Ms. Yellen told the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank would continue to gradually reduce the pace of its asset purchase program.

She also reiterated that Fed plans to hold interest rates at zero “well past” the time the jobless rate falls below 6.5%.

Separately, sentiment improved after data showed that Chinese exports jumped 10.6% in January from a year earlier, outstripping expectations for 2% gain, while imports jumped 10% and the trade surplus widened.

Procter & Gamble was expected to be active, as shares dropped 0.43% in pre-market trade after the world’s largest consumer-products maker lowered its forecast for profit and sales growth this year citing currency exchange-rate fluctuations and policy changes in Venezuela.

Social media group Twitter was also likely to be in focus, after saying it is testing a redesign of its profile pages that mimics the look ofFacebook''s timelines, in a move to part to boost the microblogging service’s effort to enhance engagement as user growth slows.

The company''s shares jumped 1.15% in early trading.

Elsewhere, Las Vegas Sands was slated to be in the spotlight after the world’s largest casino operator was attacked by hackers who defaced at least one company website and posted personal information about employees.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included Deere, Dr. Pepper Snapple, MetLife,Whole Foods, Cheesecake Factory, Cisco and CBS, scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were sharply higher. The EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.80%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.56%, Germany''s DAX jumped 0.93%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 rose 0.36%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index rallied 1.47%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed 0.56%.

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