- U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Wednesday, as trading volumes were expected to remain thin with no major U.S. economic reports to be released throughout the session, while Tuesday''s upbeat data still lent some support.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 fell 0.18%, the S&P 500 edged down 0.11%, while the NASDAQ Composite slipped 0.17%.

U.S. equities found support on Tuesday after data showed that U.S. durable goods orders rose unexpectedly in April and another report showed that U.S. consumer confidence improved in line with forecasts this month.

The Commerce Department said orders for long lasting manufactured goods rose 0.8%, compared to expectations of a 0.7% decline.

Separately, the Conference Board reported that its consumer conference index rose to 83 in May, up from a revised 81.7 in April, I line with economists’ expectations.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) rose 0.24% after Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt told French President Francois Hollande that he is working on an improved offer for Alstom (PARIS:ALSO)''s energy business.

Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) added to gains, up 3.23%, after the homebuilder reported quarterly profit more than doubled.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) saw shares rise 0.23% following reports it has designed its own self-driving vehicles that transport passengers at the push of a button. Speaking at a conference on Tuesday, co-founder Sergey Brin the company plans to have 100 to 200 test vehicles that are fully autonomous with extra safety features.

On the downside, (NASDAQ:AMZN) slid 0.37% as the online retailer said it is "not optimistic" that a dispute with publisher Hachette Book Group will be resolved soon and added that it is acting "on behalf of customers."

The comments came after the company began refusing orders last week for Hachette books, including J.K. Rowling''s new novel.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to lower. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.17%, France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.11%, Germany''s DAX slipped 0.14%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 eased up 0.06%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng climbed 0.59%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.24%.

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