Wall Street is showing signs of ending March with a whimper, which is better than some of the bangs that the market has endured this month.
Stock futures are pointing sideways. But the trading day hasn't started, and there are still economic numbers to crunch and bad news from Dell to digest. "Dude, you're gettin' your annual report late," was the message from the computer maker late yesterday, after an internal audit found accounting errors and evidence of misconduct in its finance controls.
The major economic news is the release of core personal consumption expenditure data, the Fed's favorite inflation gauge. Also on tap: the Chicagoland business activity survey and the University of Michigan's final reading on consumer sentiment. U.S. Treasuries are flat, and the dollar is steady against the yen and euro.Another day, another milestone for oil prices, which are now past $66.50 a barrel on the double whammy of the detainment of British sailors and marines in Iran and a labor strike in France.
Do private equity firms ever sleep? Texas Pacific Group is bidding $4.5 billion for Spanish airline Iberia, British pharmacy chain Alliance Boots has a sweetened bid from its deputy chairman and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Britain's Times is reporting that the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs is sizing up a bid this year for European home-improvement chain Kingfisher.
Not to be outdone, Citigroup is seeking acquisitions in Germany and could swoop down on a big bank, the executive in charge of that market tells Reuters. On the divesting side, hedge fund Man Group is planning to spin off its U.S. brokerage and take it public.
Lisa Von Ahn - Editor