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Stocks to Continue Rise After Record Highs
CNBC.com | March 14, 2012 | 07:03 AM EDT

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday as investors built on Tuesday's rally, with banking stocks in the spotlight after the Federal Reserve announced that most U.S. banks had passed its stress tests, and gave an improved economic outlook.

U.S. shares reached new highs on Tuesday following the news. Citigroup and Metlife were among those that failed the stress tests however. Citigroup shares fell 4 percent in pre-market trade.

A broader gauge of bank stocks, the SPDR Financials exchange-traded fund, was little-changed premarket.

Tuesday marked the first time the Dow Jones Industrial Averagefinished above 13,000 and the Nasdaq Composite above 3,000, on the same day. The Dow and S&P 500 have gained in five consecutive sessions, and all the major averages are sitting at fresh multi-year highs.

In economic news, import prices rose a less-than-expected 0.4 percent in February as a drop in food prices offset a 1.8 percent surge in petroleum costs. The U.S. current account deficit, meanwhile, hit a three-year high of $124.1 billion.

In addition, the Energy Department will release its assessment of oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. for the week ending March 10. In the prior week, inventories were at 0.832 million.

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