Futures Rise with Oil Inventories in Focus

Wall Street looked set to open slightly higher on Wednesday, but the energy market could again hijack the stock market with U.S. inventory data arriving later in the morning.

Oil prices rose again before the inventory numbers, which are expected at 10:35 am New York time.

The market expects crude stockpiles to have fallen by 900,000 barrels, while gasoline inventories are forecast to have risen by 1.1 million barrels and distillates by 1.6 barrels in the week ended on June 6, according to a Dow Jones survey.

In economic news, mortgage applications rose after falling for three straight weeks, despite an uptick in interest rates. It was more good news for the housing industry, which saw April sales gain unexpectedly as lower prices begin to entice buyers.

In merger and acquisition news, office supplier Stapleswill buy Dutch company Corporate Express for $2.6 billion. Staples raised its initial offer twice before Corporate Express acquiesced.

Bank shares in Europe got a boost from a report that a Russian tycoon is building stakes in major Western banks and is urging other Russian billionaires to do the same.

Suleiman Kerimov has been selling his Russian assets, including stakes in the country's biggest bank Sberbank and gas giant Gazprom, to buy stakes in Deutsche, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, Kommersant business daily said, citing sources.

UBS shares gained 1.8 percent in premarket trading and Credit Suisse was up nearly 1 percent.

Another investor looking at distressed assets is former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, according to Reuters. Spitzer is looking at a number of options but does not yet have a formal plan, sources told the wire service.

And staying in the financial sector, some Countrywide executives are likely to move to Bank of America's mortgage unit when the merger deal will be completed, the Wall Street journal reported. Bank of America gained 1.7 percent premarket.