Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- 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.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 12 points, or 0.09%, to close at 13,565.

The S&P 500 fell nearly 2 points, or 0.13%, to settle at 1459, while the Nasdaq was off less than a point, or 0.03%, to finish at 3178.


Microsoft ( MSFT) 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) 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), 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), Adobe Systems ( ADBE), AutoZone ( AZO), Cracker Barrel ( CBRL), Steelcase ( SCS), and Sycamore Networks ( SCMR).


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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Copyright 2012 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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