The love fest between the Fed and Wall Street is officially over for now. Stock futures are pointing down as gloom persists over the minutes from last month's policy-making meeting.
Stocks had rallied after the meeting, when policymakers dropped language on the possible need to raise rates, but minutes released yesterday hint at the need for more tightening. Inflation is likely to stay on investors' radar screens as the government releases import/export prices today and the producer price index tomorrow.
U.S. Treasuries, which also fell yesterday, have regained some ground on bargain-hunting. The dollar is little changed against the yen and down against the euro. Same-store sales reports from retailers are piling in this morning.
Wal-Mart just reported a stronger-than-expected rise for March, but says it will be a challenge to meet its previously issued quarterly earnings forecast. Worries over the economy have far overshadowed some big M&A stories. Sources say MedImmune has hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale of the company, which the market values at $8.8 billion.
And baby food company Gerber is changing hands after Novartis agreed to sell it to Nestle for $5.5 billion. There's no smooth sailing at boat retailer MarineMax, which has slashed its 2007 profit forecast.
Oil is closing in on $63 a barrel after the International Energy Agency said OPEC had tightened output too much and data showed a steep fall in U.S. gasoline stocks.
Lisa Von Ahn - www.Reuters.com