Futures for U.S. markets were in the black late Tuesday, signalling an about-face to Tuesday's trading session, which was overshadowed by a speech by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that she would seek a hard Brexit and by questions about President-elect Donald Trump's economic policies.
The S&P 500 added 0.08%, Nasdaq, 0.11%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 0.09%, at 10:06 p.m. EST.
Although May hinted that she would seek a special agreement with the EU over trade, investors worried that a clean break with the Continent would usher in inflation, pushing the FTSE index over 1% lower after a series of record highs.
At home, investors are growing wary of Trump's pro-jobs bluster and are beginning to wonder what his fiscal focus will look like. Tuesday, he suggested that he would abandon the decades-old strong dollar policy, possibly to encourage exports.
The turmoil left the S&P and the Dow off 0.3%, while Nasdaq pared 0.63%. In Europe, the Germany's Dax lost 0.13%, the Cac in Paris, 0.43%, and the FTSE in London, 1.46%, as investors felt Brexit lurch closer.
Asia didn't react well to turbulence either with the Nikkei in Japan off 0.2%, the ASX in Australia 0.61% and the kospi in South Korea 0.07% at 10:31 p.m. EST. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.06%.
Oil countered the downbeat mood on equity markets with a barrel of West Texas crude going for $52.63 at 10:20 p.m. EST. That's an increase of 15 cents and slightly better than the 14-cent gain for a barrel of industry standard Brent crude, which was worth $55.61 at the same time. Both prices represent futures for delivery in February and March, respectively.
Despite Trump's remarks about the dollar, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a pack of rivals, gained 0.19% to 100.49, still off the 52-week high of 103.82 reached earlier this month.
In after-hours trade, rail operator CSX (CSX - Get Report) saw its shares decline 3.96% to $36.58 after it unveiled fourth-quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations and derailed investor hopes of shining earnings from its competitors later this week.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX reported net earnings of $458 million, or 49 cents per share, compared to net earnings of $466 million, or 48 cents per share, a year prior. Analysts had expected CSX to earn 50 cents per share, according to FactSet, with some calling that consensus conservative after seeing strong December traffic numbers for the industry.
Canadian Pacific (CP - Get Report) , Union Pacific (UNP - Get Report) and Kansas City Southern (KSU - Get Report) also report this week, while Norfolk Southern reports on Jan. 25. CSX was seen by the analyst community as most likely to beat what was viewed as conservative guidance, while Union Pacific will be closely watched as its volumes have trailed peers in recent quarters.