Stock futures were mixed with the U.S. moving closer to a military confrontation in Syria.
The potential for a major disruption in the Middle East is overshadowing what are more indications Wednesday of an economic recovery.
Dow Jones industrial futures fell 35 points to 14,792. S&P futures lost 3.1 points to 1,636.20. Nasdaq futures rose 3.5 points to 3,090.
Top national security aides to President Barack Obama are meeting Wednesday in a series of public and private hearings to push for strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in retaliation for what the administration says was a deadly sarin gas attack.
Also on Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that the trade gap grew 13 percent to $39.1 billion in July, thanks in part to the import of a record number of foreign-made cars and trucks.
That comes after the trade deficit hit a four-year low in June, however.
And U.S. automakers are riding strong demand to what may turn into the best month for sales since early 2007.
Chrysler reported Wednesday that its U.S. sales rose 12 percent last month, its best August in six years.
All automakers are putting up sales numbers Wednesday and analysts say August could be the best month since May of 2007, when $3 a gallon gasoline led to a buying spree of fuel efficient vehicles.