5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were mixed Wednesday following word Tuesday that 15 of 19 major U.S. banks passed the Federal Reserve's annual stress test.

European shares were rising, while Asian shares finished with strong gains after Wall Street rallied Tuesday on signs of a stronger U.S. economy and financial sector. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.5% to 10,050.52; the index last closed above 10,000 on July 27, 2011.

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes import-export prices for February from the Labor Department at 8.30 a.m. EDT. Economists forecast a 0.6% rise in import prices and a 0.2% in export prices, according to Reuters.

Citigroup ( C), MetLife ( MET), SunTrust Banks ( STI) and Ally Financial were the notable failures when the Federal Reserve on Tuesday released the results of its capital stress tests on the 19 largest U.S. banks.

Citigroup was the surprise loser of the stress tests, coming in with a 4.9% capital ratio.

Rick Santorum won GOP primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, dealing Mitt Romney's presidential hopes two more setbacks.

Mitt Romney still hasn't won a Southern state in the 2012 race.

More Americans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing than disapprove, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. Obama's approval rating is now at 50%.

The poll was taken March 8 to March 11, soon after a report said the U.S. economy added 27,000 jobs in February. The poll found Obama's rating has risen by 2 percentage points during the past month.

The percentage of Americans who disapprove of Obama was 48%, down from 49% in February, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Oil prices fell to close to $106 a barrel Wednesday after the American Petroleum Institute said Tuesday that crude inventories rose 2.8 million barrels last week, higher than analysts' predictions.

A barrel of crude has surged from $75 back in October as the U.S. economy has showed signs of strengthening.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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