* Strong earnings from the likes of Apple and IBM have reinforced hopes of a strong corporate earnings season.

* Apple landed blockbuster results after markets closed on Tuesday and gave a strong outlook on dazzling sales of the iPhone and iPad, sending its shares up as much as 4 percent before paring gains.

* International Business Machines Corp's (IBM) quarterly profit blew past Wall Street estimates, and a long-hoped-for recovery in its services business raised optimism that global companies were confident enough to spend more on technology. IBM shares rose 2.7 percent in after-hours trading.

* A number of banks are scheduled to release results on Wednesday, including Goldman Sachs which analysts expect to report a fall in quarterly profit by roughly half due to the same adverse fixed income trading environment that hurt Citigroup's results a day earlier.

* Goldman is likely to post earnings of about $3.76 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

* State Street , U.S. Bancorp , Bank of New York Mellon and Wells Fargo are also set to report numbers on Wednesday, along with technology firm eBay .

* U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday as investors focused on increased price targets for Google , which reports later this week, and Dow component Caterpillar , whose results are due next week.

* Optimism about earnings has helped bolster stocks in recent weeks, with the S&P 500 <.SPX> posting its seventh straight week of gains on Friday.

* In company news, agribusiness giant Cargill Inc plans to spin off its $24 billion majority stake in Mosaic Co , a move that could eventually lead to a takeover of Mosaic, the world's second-largest fertilizer producer.

* Citigroup Inc plans to name John Havens as president and chief operating officer as part of a structural overhaul to address the bank's efforts to expand, the Wall Street Journal said.

* Executives from General Electric , Microsoft Corp. , Goldman Sachs , Coca-Cola , Boeing , Intel Corp and Carlyle Group will be among U.S. business leaders at a meeting on Wednesday hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, a White House official said.

* U.S. aircraft and defense firm Boeing is in talks with South Korea's Korean Air Lines <003490.KS>, one of its 787 Dreamliner customers, on its delivery schedule, the head of its Korea unit said.

* On the economic front, weekly U.S. mortgage applications and chain store sales are expected at 6 a.m. EST and 6:45 a.m. EST respectively, while U.S. housing starts for December are due at 8:30 a.m. EST.

* In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares slipped 0.2 percent in early trade, pressured by weak banks.

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal. Editing by Jane Merriman)