Stocks set for higher open

By CNNMoney.com staff


NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Wednesday as investors digested debt issues in Europe and hoped a $1 trillion bailout package would be enough to fix the zone's problems.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were all higher.

Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Stocks ended mostly lower Tuesday after confidence in a nearly $1 trillion European rescue package began to fade as investors refocused on long-term problems in the zone. The session was a sharp contrast to Monday, when stocks posted their best day in nearly 14 months on the announcement of the aid package.

"Today, global markets are breathing a sigh of relief that we've gotten some resolution," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co. "There's a hope that we've gotten in front of the European problems and that they'll move to the backburner."

Hogan noted that the euro was higher against the dollar early Wednesday, which tends to put a floor under commodities prices, in turn boosting U.S. stocks.

Economy: The March trade balance, released before the start of trading, widened to $40.4 billion from $39.4 billion in February. That was higher than the $39.5 billion that analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expected.

The government's weekly crude oil inventories report will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The April Treasury budget, due in the afternoon, is expected to show a $28.5 billion gap for the month after a $20.9 billion shortfall in March.

Companies: After trading ends Wednesday, network equipment maker Cisco Systems (CSCO, Fortune 500) is expected to report quarterly earnings of 38 cents per share, up 28% from a year earlier, when it earned 32 cents.

After the closing bell Tuesday, Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) reported profit and revenue that beat analysts' expectations. The company said net income for the three months ended April 3 rose to $953 million, or 48 cents per share, from $613 million, or 33 cents, a year earlier.

World markets: In afternoon trading in Europe, France's CAC 40, Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX were all higher.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index closed 0.2% lower and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong ended up 0.3%.

Dollar and commodities: The dollar was down 0.1% against the euro and up 0.3% versus the British pound. The greenback was up 0.4% against the Japanese yen.

U.S. light crude oil fell 17 cents to $76.20 a barrel. COMEX gold for June delivery jumped $20 to record territory of $1,240.30 per ounce.

Bonds: Treasury prices were slightly lower early Wednesday, pushing the benchmark 10-year yield up to 3.54%. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. To top of page

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