The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet.

New York - US stock index futures pointed to very slight gains at the open on Wednesday, suggesting that even a positive early read on earnings was not enough to excite buyers after a sharp decline from record levels.

* The S&P 500 is coming off its biggest two-day slump since mid-May, with small-cap and Intern names among the biggest decliners. Despite heavy losses earlier this year, both groups continue to be hit by charges that they are overvalued.

* Alcoa rose 2 percent to $15.14 in premarket trading a day after reporting second-quarter adjusted earnings and revenue that topped expectations.

* While the former Dow component is not considered a market-moving industry bellwether, the aluminum maker is sometimes viewed as setting the tone for the season by dint of being one of the first high-profile names out of the gate.

Wells Fargo & Co will report on Friday, while dozens of closely watched companies, including numerous Dow components, will come out next week.

* S&P 500 profits are seen growing 6.2 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from the 8.4 percent growth forecast at the start of April.

Revenue is seen up 3 percent.

Analysts are looking to earnings for confirmation that the economy recovered in the second quarter from the impact of a harsh winter.

* Investors are also looking ahead to the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's June meeting, which will be released at 2 p.m. (18:00 SA time).

The minutes will be particularly scrutinised for any insight into when the Federal Reserve will first raise interest rates, as the strength of the recent payroll report spurred speculation it will come sooner than previously anticipated.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 2.25 point and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 17 points, and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures rose 5 point.

* While the Dow closed back below 17,000 in Tuesday's decline, the S&P recovered from its lows of the session and held near its 14-day moving average.

If the benchmark index had ended decisively below that level, it would be a sign of weak near-term momentum.

The two-day skid follows a sharp Wall Street rally that took major indexes to repeated records.

* Citigroup Inc is close to paying about $7 billion to resolve a US probe into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters late Tuesday.

Shares rose 0.5 percent to $47.65 before the bell.

* American Airlines Group jumped 5.4 percent to $42.44 in premarket trading after it raised its growth forecast for unit revenue.

The stock was the most active Nasdaq premarket mover. - Reuters