This is what you need to know before the opening bell:
1. U.S. stock futures were rising Wednesday and European stocks gained as investors shrugged off global political tensions and instead turned their focus to first-quarter earnings season, which will kick off in earnest on Thursday with reports from JPMorgan Chase J (PM) , Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) .
2. United Airlines (UAL) CEO Oscar Munoz offered a stronger apology after a 69-year-old passenger was pulled from his seat and dragged down the aisle, and said the airline would review its policies.
3. Rachel Whetstone, Uber's head of communications, will leave the ride-hailing company, as it too works through its own public relations crises.
4. Akzo Nobel (AKZOY) accused one of its biggest shareholders of planning to share price-sensitive information with rival PPG Industries (PPG) and rejected calls for the dismissal of its chairman amid an increasingly hostile takeover showdown.
5. Walmart (WMT) will offer "pickup discounts" to U.S. shoppers on items they order online and pick up in-store, as the retailer tries to close the e-commerce gap with rival and online giant Amazon.com (AMZN)