) -- U.S. stock futures were indicating a higher open for Wall Street Wednesday after the Bank of Japan followed the

Federal Reserve's

lead and eased monetary policy to boost a struggling economy.

European stocks were rising slightly while Asian shares finished Wednesday's trading session with solid gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.2% to 9,232.21, its highest close in more than four months.

The Bank of Japan said Wednesday it was extending monetary easing by increasing its asset purchasing fund to 55 trillion yen ($700 billion) from 45 trillion yen, to counter a strong yen.

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes housing starts and building permits for August at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and existing home sales for August at 10 a.m.

U.S. stocks

on Tuesday finished mixed in sluggish trading with lingering eurozone uncertainties set against more evidence of a recovery in the housing market.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained nearly 12 points, or 0.09%, to close at 13,565.


S&P 500

fell nearly 2 points, or 0.13%, to settle at 1459, while the


was off less than a point, or 0.03%, to finish at 3178.


(MSFT) - Get Report

announced plans Tuesday for a 15% dividend hike.

The software giant said its board approved a quarterly dividend of 23 cents a share, up from its current payout of 20 cents. The new dividend implies a forward annual yield of 2.95% based on the stock's closing price of $31.17 on Tuesday.

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

said David Viniar plans to retire as chief financial officer in January 2013.

Viniar, who will join Goldman's board, is to be succeeded by Harvey Schwartz, the current co-head of the company's security division.

Viniar has spent more than three decades at the investment bank.

General Mills

(GIS) - Get Report

, the maker of Cheerios, is expected by analysts to report fiscal first-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share on revenue of $4.08 billion.

Other companies reporting their results Wednesday include

Bed, Bath & Beyond

(BBBY) - Get Report


Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report



(AZO) - Get Report


Cracker Barrel

(CBRL) - Get Report



(SCS) - Get Report

, and

Sycamore Networks



Public school teachers in Chicago voted Tuesday to end their strike. Classes will begin Wednesday in the third-largest U.S. school district.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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