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5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens

Stocks in this article: ORCL HPQ

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were suggesting Wall Street would open higher Wednesday ahead of U.S. housing data.

European shares moved higher, but Asian stocks declined on further signs of a cooling Chinese economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.6% to end at 10,086.49.

Existing home sales data from the National Association of Realtors highlights Wednesday's economic calendar in the U.S.

The consensus estimate calls for existing home sales of 4.6 million in February, a slight increase from 4.57 million in January.

Oracle (ORCL), the database giant , handily topped Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations.

Oracle reported a non-GAAP profit of $3.13 billion, or 62 cents a share, for the three months ended Feb. 29 on revenue of $9.06 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 56 cents a share in the quarter n revenue of $9.02 billion.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is scheduled to hold its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday in Santa Clara, Calif., amid reports it's looking to merge its printer and PC division into one arm.

According to AllThingsD, HP will merge its Imaging and Printing Group into the Personal Systems Group.

The plan is aimed at reducing costs, say reports.

The two units together generate about $65 billion a year in revenue.

Mitt Romney easily won the Illinois primary on Tuesday night, widening his delegate lead over his Republican opponents.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Romney led with 47% to Rick Santorum's 35%. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had 9%, and Newt Gingrich trailed with 8%.

Romney won 20 delegates from Puerto Rico -- Rick Santorum spent precious time there to try and win the U.S. territory -- over the weekend as he campaigned across Illinois, determined to win a substantial number of the state's 69 delegates .

On Assignment (ASGN) said it would buy IT staffing rival Apex Systems for $600 million, including debt.

On Assignment said the purchase would make it the nation's second largest IT staffing firm. The deal would add significantly to 2012 earnings, On Assignment said.

On Assignment shares jumped 31% in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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