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Wall Street Aims To Open Higher

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The Testimony of Jerome Powel before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday is keenly watched by investors. Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations report and Treasury Budget for January are the other highlights on the day. China and other Asian countries are striving hard to contain the Corona virus outbreak. The impact on

Asian shares finished positive, while European shares are trading higher.

Initial cues from the U.S. Futures Index point to a positive open for Wall Street.

As of 7.45 am ET, the Dow futures were adding 117.00 points, the S&P 500 futures were gaining 11.25 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures were up 41.50 points.

US stocks closed higher on Tuesday. The Nasdaq edged up 10.55 points or 0.1 percent to 9,638.94 and the S&P 500 rose 5.66 points or 0.2 percent to 3,357.75, the Dow closed down 0.48 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 29,276.34.

On the economic front, the Atlanta Fed's Business Inflation Expectations survey report will be issued at 10.00 am ET. In the prior month, the expectations were up 1.9 percent.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify before the the Senate Banking Committee at 10.00 am ET.

Fed Philadelphia President Patrick Harker will make a public speech at 8.30 am ET. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will speak at 9.00 am ET.

The Energy Information Administration or EIA's Petroleum Status Report for the week will be released at 10.30 am ET. In the prior week, the Crude Oil Inventories were up 3.4 million barrels, while Gasoline Inventories declined to 0.1 million.

Ten year Treasury Note Auction will be held at 1.00 pm ET.

The Treasury Budget for January will be held at 2.00 pm ET. The consensus is for surplus of $11.5 billion, while it recorded a deficit of $13.3 billion.

In the corporate sector, CVS Health Corp. Wednesday reported a swing to profit for its fourth-quarter, compared to net loss last year, reflecting higher operating income, partially offset by higher income tax expense associated with increase in pre-tax income. Quarterly revenues grew 22.9 percent, primarily due to impact of acquisition of Aetna.

Net income attributable to the company for the fourth-quarter was $1.75 billion or $1.33 per share, compared to net loss of $419 million or $0.37 per share in the same quarter last year. Adjusted income from continuing operations attributable to the company for the fourth-quarter was $2.27 billion or $1.73 per share.

Total revenues for the quarter grew 22.9 percent to $66.89 billion from last year's $54.42 billion, primarily due to the impact of the acquisition of Aetna, as well as increased volume and brand inflation in both the Pharmacy Services and Retail/LTC segments.

Looking ahead to 2020, the company expects earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of $5.47 - $5.60, and adjusted earnings per share of $7.04 - $7.17.

The company projects full year 2020 GAAP operating income to be in the range of $12.8 billion to $13.0 billion, and adjusted operating income of $15.5 billion to $15.8 billion.

Asian stocks advanced on Wednesday. Chinese stocks rose for the seventh day running as virus worries ebbed. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index climbed 25.22 points, or 0.87 percent, to 2,926.90. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended 0.87 percent higher at 27,823.66.

Japanese shares gained ground. The Nikkei average climbed 175.23 points, or 0.74 percent, to 23,861.21, while the broader Topix index finished marginally lower at 1,718.92.

Australian markets advanced. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 32.90 points, or 0.47 percent, to 7,088.20 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 33.90 points, or 0.47 percent, at 7,185.30. Westpac data showed that Australia's consumer confidence advanced in February.

European shares are trading higher. Among the major indexes in the region, the CAC 40 Index of France is gaining 22.57 points or 0.37 percent. The German DAX is progressing 105.01 points or 0.77 percent, the U.K. FTSE 100 Index is climbing 26.28 points or 0.35 percent.

The Swiss Market Index is edging up 1.14 points or 0.01 percent.

The Euro Stoxx 50 Index, which is a compilation of 50 blue chip stocks across the euro area, is up 0.49 percent.

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