NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Wednesday, as a positive quarter for the markets enters its final three days.
Dow Jones industrial average (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) futures were higher. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Tuesday's declines followed a big run-up in the previous day's session, as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's comments on the job market gave investors reason to believe that the central bank will keep interest rates low.
Stocks have rallied in 2012 on improving economic data and easing concerns about the debt crisis in Europe. With the year's first quarter of trading ending Friday, the Dow has climbed 8%, the S&P 500 has gained nearly 13% and the Nasdaq is up more than 20%.
World markets: European stocks were mixed in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 ( ) was down 0.1%, the DAX ( ) in Germany lost 0.3% and France's CAC 40 ( ) was flat.
Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite () tumbled 2.7%, the Hang Seng ( ) in Hong Kong shed 0.8% and Japan's Nikkei ( ) declined 0.7%.
Economy: With little else on the docket, David Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams, said that investors would be keying off a report on durable goods released before the market open.
That report showed durable goods orders increased 2.2% in February, less than the 2.8% expected by economists.
At 10 a.m. ET, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is scheduled to testify before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the Treasury budget.
The price of an average gallon of regular gas surpassed the $3.90 mark Wednesday, according to the latest daily survey conducted for the motorist group AAA. Prices are now within a dime of the $4 threshold after 19 consecutive increases.
Annie's Inc., the organic food maker known for its macaroni & cheese, is expected to begin trading under the ticker BNNY () on Wednesday. The company priced shares at $19 according to reports, above the established $16 to $18 range. Annie's has sold 5 million shares for its initial public offering.
Oil for May delivery slipped $1.24 to $106.09 a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery fell $11.30 to $1,673.60 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped, pushing the yield up to 2.22% from 2.19% late Tuesday.
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