The Census Department will release May retail sales figures. The data are expected to show a slight increase from April sales, although bad weather and a slowing economy could hurt the numbers. If the sales figures are light, it could prompt the Federal Reserve keep cutting interest rates aggressively.
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson will speak about the future of banking at the American Bankers Association virtual banking conference.
In New York, investors will be listening up for news from companies including EMC, RealNetworks, EDS, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments. The companies are all scheduled to present at the Bear Stearns Technology Conference there Wednesday.
AOL Time Warner has extended a deal with General Motors to promote GM cars across its Internet services. The new pact was announced Wednesday morning. AOL and Sony have also restarted talks about selling Columbia House, their jointly owned music and video direct-marketing club, to Bertelsmann, according to published reports.
Stocks to watch
Transmeta said in Tokyo Wednesday that its second-quarter sales would be on target with the company's previous outlook. The chipmaker had predicted roughly flat revenue in the second quarter, compared to the company?s first-quarter tally of $18.6 million.
Loudcloud reported a fiscal first-quarter net loss of $60.3 million, or $1.25 a share, on sales of $11.7 million. Loudcloud said it has $205 million in cash and equivalents, which should give the company enough cash to hold it over until it turns profitable. The company recently said it was cutting 19 percent of its work force.
Internet incubator CMGI posted a net loss of $963 million, or $2.80 a share. The company's loss swelled after the company wrote down the value of its 2000 investments in companies Tallan, AdForce and Activate. CMGI, which counts the operations of Engage Technologies and AltaVista in its results, reported revenue of $301 million.
Standard & Poor's cut its debt ratings for Lucent Technologies to junk status, expressing "significant" concern about Lucent's ability to improve profits and cash flow in a tough telecommunications sector. The announcement, which was delivered after the market closed Tuesday, is likely to affect Lucent shares.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average should open 7.84 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 0.70 points to 1265 at 4:56 a.m. PDT in 24-hour electronic trading.
Reuters contributed to this report.