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5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing lower Wednesday following testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that disappointed investors who were looking for hints of more monetary stimulus from the central bank this summer.

European shares were inching higher, while Asian stocks fell following Bernanke's downbeat performance on Tuesday before Congress. Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.3% to 8,726.74.

U.S. stocks on Tuesday finished finished solidly higher as investors looked past Bernanke and focused on above-consensus corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78 points, or 0.61%, to close at 12,805. The blue-chip index is now up 4.81% so far in 2012. The S&P 500 advanced 10 points, or 0.74%, to finish at 1364 on Tuesday. The Nasdaq tacked on 13 points, or 0.45%, to settle at 2910.

Wednesday is Bernanke's second day of testimony before Congress. The economic calendar also includes housing starts and building permits for June at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and the release of the Fed's latest Beige Book report on economic conditions in June at 2 p.m.

Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) reports second-quarter earnings Wednesday before the bell and analysts expect the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking giant to report a profit of 14 cents a share in the June-ended period on revenue of $22.87 billion.

American Express (AXP - Get Report), like Bank of America a component of the Dow, is expected by analysts Wednesday to post profit of $1.09 a share in the second quarter on revenue of $8.09 billion, up from year-earlier earnings of $1.07 a share on revenue of $7.62 billion.

Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) posted quarterly earnings Tuesday that topped expectations, but revenue came in a bit light.

New Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer wasn't on the Internet company's earnings conference call. Investors would have liked to hear from her because as BusinessInsider noted in a story on Tuesday, there are two views of the former Google vice president in the industry.

IBM (IBM - Get Report), the world's largest technology-services company, is expected by analysts Wednesday to post second-quarter earnings of $3.43 a share on revenue of $26.34 billion.

IBM has a "fantastic" long-term global expansion strategy, according to John Mylant in a story Wednesday in Seeking Alpha. IBM is well-positioned to expand in China, said Mylant.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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

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