Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were suggesting Wall Street would open higher Wednesday despite "fiscal cliff" concerns in the U.S. and as unions in Spain, Greece and Portugal went on strike to protest anti-austerity measures.

European stocks were falling despite a successful sale by Greece of short-term treasury bills on Tuesday. Asian shares ended Wednesday's trading session with gains as a leadership transition took place in China. Japan's 225 index posted marginal gains and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4%.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes retail sales for October at 8:30 a.m. EST, the producer price index for October at 8:30 a.m., business inventories for September at 10 a.m., and the release of the minutes of the Oct. 23-24 policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m.

U.S. stocks on Tuesday finished lower as investors piled out of the technology, energy and financial sectors in the final hour of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 59 points, or 0.46%, to settle at 12,756.

Cisco ( CSCO), the networking giant and Dow component, topped Wall Street's expectations in its latest quarter on both the top and bottom lines.

Cisco reported non-GAAP earnings of $2.57 billion, or 48 cents a share, on revenue of $11.88 billion, up from a year-earlier equivalent profit of $2.32 billion, or 43 cents a share, on revenue of $11.27 billion.

AMD ( AMD) denied Tuesday that it's on the block following a report that the No. 2 chipmaker could be be up for sale.

Staples ( SPLS) is reporting its third-quarter results before the opening bell Wednesday, and analysts are expecting a profit of 45 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $6.45 billion.

Earnings are also expected Wednesday from Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF), AGCO Corp. ( AG), Bluegreen Corp. ( BXG), DryShips ( DRYS), FriendFinder Networks ( FFN), Hot Topic ( HOTT), Limited Brands ( LTD), Millipore ( MIL), NetApp ( NTAP), New Frontier Media ( NOOF), Petsmart ( PETM), Retalix ( RTLX), Spectrum Brands ( SPB), Tyco International ( TYC), and Williams-Sonoma ( WSM).

Toyota ( TM) is recalling almost 2.8 million vehicles around the globe for a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect that may result in faulty steering.

No accidents have been reported related to the two problems, according to Japan's No. 1 automaker on Wednesday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission deepened its probe into whether Knight Capital Group ( KCG) did enough to police its trading systems before computer errors caused the brokerage to incur losses of more than $450 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The probe initially focused on what caused the trading errors but it has broadened to look further at Knight Capital's risk-control procedures and its compliance with a rule that requires brokerages to guard against these sorts of problems, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the investigation.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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