US stock futures advanced following news President Barack Obama will nominate Janet Yellen as the new Federal Reserve Chair.
Obama is due to announce the nomination at 15:00 in Washington, a White House official told Bloomberg.
Yellen is being put forward as the candidate to succeed Ben Bernanke when he steps down next year.
She is a favoured choice among investors as she has supported the central bank's stimulus programme.
"Yellen, the current Vice Chairwoman of the Fed, is believed to be even more dovish than Ben Bernanke, who's term ends on January 31st," said Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari.
"It's therefore no surprise to see investors respond positively to the news of President Barack Obama's nomination, especially given that he was previously believed to be more in favour of a much more hawkish Lawrence Summers."
The Federal Reserve will at the same time release the minutes of last month's policy meeting.
The meeting minutes will shed further light on the Fed's shock decision to maintain its $85bn per month in bond purchases until seeing further signs of economic recovery.
Fed Chicago President Charles Evans will speak on the central bank's monetary policy in Washington shortly before the minutes are released.
US debt ceiling looms
The US government shutdown has continued into the second week after Congress failed to make any headway on the budget and impending debt ceiling.
Lawmakers will today continue to wrangle over the budget and raising the $16.7trn borrowing limit before October 17th when the government will start to run out of cash to pay its bills.
Republicans have been pushing for a delay to Obama's controversial health bill and have been laying out pre-conditions for raising the debt ceiling but Democrats are holding their ground.
Obama has told Republicans they need to lift "threats" against the economy before he will hold budget talks with the opposition.
In his weekly address on Tuesday, Obama said Republicans "don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs".
"There's only one way out of this reckless and damaging shutdown: pass a budget that funds our government, with no partisan strings attached," he said.
House Speaker John Boehner, however, said that an immediate increase in the debt ceiling without conditions was "unconditional surrender". "There's going to be a negotiation here [...] It's time to have that conversation," he said.
If the government does not find a resolution by October 17th, the US could default on its debt, which would send shock waves throughout the rest of the world.
The International Monetary Fund warned of the consequences of the government deadlock in its World Economic Outlook yesterday, saying it would derail US recovery and lead to disruptions in financial markets across the globe.
Alcoa advanced after the aluminum producer reported quarterly earnings that beat forecasts after its smelting business returned to profitability.
Ford gained after the US automaker said vehicle wholesales in China climbed 61% to 96,111 units in September compared with a year ago.
Yum slumped as the owner of the KFC fast-food chain cut its 2013 earnings forecast.
Costco declined after the US warehouse-club chain reported fourth-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' estimates.
Men's Wearhouse rallied after Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. said it wants to buy the apparel retailer for $2.3bn.