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) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a largely flat open Wednesday as investors absorb better-than-expected durable goods orders and a downgrade to Japan's credit rating.

Futures for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

were up by 2 points, or 13 points below fair value at 11,143. Futures for the

S&P 500

were lower by three-tenths of a point, or 2 points below fair value, at 1158, and


futures were ahead by 1 point, or 4 points below fair value.

Stocks surged Tuesday as better-than-expected global manufacturing data and speculation that the Fed may consider additional stimulus made investors more willing to take on risk.

Moody's Investors Service

lowered the credit rating on Japan by one notch to Aa3 from Aa2 with a stable outlook. The ratings agency cited "large budget deficits and the build-up in Japanese government debt since the 2009 global recession."

A closely watched

German business optimism index fell by more than economists expected in August. The index dropped to 108.7 from 112.9 in July. The market had only anticipated a dip to 111.

The FTSE in London was shedding 0.05% while the DAX in Frankfurt was adding 0.6%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.1% and Japan's Nikkei lost 1%.

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The U.S. Census Bureau said durable goods orders jumped 4% in July, after falling 1.3% in June. The level exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.9%, according to Excluding transportation, orders gained 0.7% in July, after adding 0.6% in June. Economists had forecast a decline of 0.5% in July.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency will issue its housing price index for June at 10 a.m. In May, the index rose 0.4%.

Mining company

BHP Billiton


reported a

increase in second-half profit that jumped 62% to $11 billion, excluding certain items, but fell short of the average $11.7 billion estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The company also said it's challenged by "tight labor and raw material markets." The stock was losing 1.3% to $79.85 ahead of Wednesday's opening bell.

Luxury homebuilder

Toll Brothers


said earnings rose to $42.1 million, or 25 cents a share, which included a tax benefit of $38.2 million. Revenue slipped 13% to $394.3 million, missing estimates for sales of $403.6 million. The company also said it

is too soon to assess how recent financial volatility has impacted housing markets.

At 10:30 a.m., the Energy Information Administration will give its weekly read on crude oil inventories. Analysts are projecting an increase of 2 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 19, according to a Platts survey.

Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude supplies lost 3.34 million barrels last week.

The October crude oil contract was losing 24 cents to trade at $85.20 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodity markets, gold for December delivery was shedding $11.90 to trade at $1,849.40 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 7/32, diluting the yield to 2.132%. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.1%.


-- Written by Melinda Peer in New York


Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.