Earnings season hits its stride Wednesday with three big tech firms slated to release earnings after the bell.
Ahead of the start of trading U.S. stock futures were trading higher.
At 7:24 a.m. EST, Nasdaq 100 futures were up 6.50 points and sat 8.04 points above fair value, signalling gains for the Nasdaq Stock Market's composite index.
Standard & Poor's futures rose 1.80 points to sit 3.33 points above fair value, pointing to a similar start for the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P-500.
All three finished modestly lower Tuesday.
On Bay Street, the S&P/TSX composite index will begin the Wednesday session at 8,380.34 after finishing Tuesday down a slight 0.03 points.
Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei index closed Wednesday up 13.32 points at 10,863. Major European markets were also modestly higher in morning trading.
Ahead of the opening bell, North American markets will get a look at November international trade numbers in both Canada and the United States.
In the United States, economists are forecasting that the trade deficit will be $41.7-billion (U.S.) in for the month, down slightly from the $41.8-billion trade gap in October.
In this country, the November report marks the last major economic indicator released before next week's Bank of Canada decision on interest rates.
The international merchandise trade surplus in Canada is forecast by economists to drop to $5-billion (Canadian) in November from $5.1-billion in October, according to BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. It expects exports will rise 1 per cent in November, while imports are forecast to increase 2 per cent.
"The bank is going to be paying close attention to this report, and the U.S. trade report released concurrently to give them a better sense of how Canada's export sector is doing," BMO Nesbitt Burns senior economist David Watt said.
Right now, analysts are fairly evenly split on whether the bank will move on Jan. 20. Most had been expecting a quarter point rate-cut next week, although last week's much better-than-expected December employment numbers resulted in a few revising their outlook.
After trading ends, earnings season will take over the headlines. Intel Corp., Apple Computer Inc. and Yahoo Inc. are all scheduled to report results. Analysts expect to see improved numbers from each.
Chipmaker Intel is forecast to deliver fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents (U.S.) a share, up from 16 cents a year earlier. Yahoo's profit is seen climbing to 11 cents a share, from 8 cents. Apple's results should rise to 14 cents, from last year's 3 cents a share, according analysts' forecasts.
The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.42 cents (U.S.), down 0.21 of a cent from Tuesday's closing price just ahead of 7:30 a.m.