NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. futures were signaling a higher open on Wall Street Wednesday ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting. European shares were rising after China said it would continue to invest in eurozone debt. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 2.3% to close at 9,260.34, its highest close since Aug. 5, following the Bank of Japan's . further loosening of monetary policy on Tuesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.1%. In the U.S. on Tuesday, stocks finished mixed on fears of European headwinds and a mixed bag of domestic corporate and economic news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.2 points, or 0.03%, to 12,878. The S&P 500 fell 1.3 points, or 0.09%, at 1351. The Nasdaq was up less than a point, or 0.02%, at 2932.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes the Empire State manufacturing index for February at 8:30 a.m. EST; industrial production and capacity utilization for January at 9:15 a.m.; and the release of the minutes of the Fed's last open market committee meeting at 2 p.m.
U.S. lawmakers reached a tentative deal Tuesday extending a 2 percentage-point payroll tax cut and extra jobless benefits through 2012. Both Democrats and Republicans said the deal wasn't final and still could be altered. If completed, final congressional approval was possible by Friday, according to The Associated Press.
Federal criminal authorities are investigating whether a Goldman Sachs ( GS) technology analyst leaked inside information to hedge funds, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the situation. The development takes the broadening insider-trading investigation inside the research operation of a major Wall Street firm for the first time, the Journalsaid. It involves Henry King, a high-profile analyst well-known among technology investors for prescient calls on tech firms, the people told the newspaper.
Earnings reports are scheduled Wednesday from Comcast ( CMCSA) and Deere ( DE).
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel