Just one word: "Plastics," as they said in the 1960s film "The Graduate." All The Wall Street Journal has to do is say GE is close to selling its plastics unit, and Wall Street has gotten over yesterday's sulk over macroeconomic news that raised doubts about an interest-rate cut. More data - this time on consumer sentiment - is coming after the opening, but in light of the economic resilience shown yesterday, the market doesn't seem to care if declining home values and rising oil prices have caused us all to take a break from shopping.
Oil itself seems to be taking something of a breather after yesterday's rally on fears that new problems at U.S. refineries could constrict already low gasoline inventories. London Brent is hovering around $70 a barrel, while U.S. crude is up about $65.
The dollar is at a three-month high against the yen. U.S. Treasuries are up after a series of declines, but gains are limited after the Chinese central bank said it would raise interest rates. In M&A, romance - or acquisitiveness - is certainly in the air. A source says Cadbury Schweppes' beverage business, which includes Dr Pepper and Snapple, has attracted 12 potential suitors.
And The Wall Street Journal says Royal Bank of Scotland is in talks with Bank of America over a deal on LaSalle, the ABN AMRO unit at the center of the battle for control of the Dutch company. Finally, don't shed any tears for Donald Trump over the uncertain fate of his show, "The Apprentice." Shares of his Trump Entertainment, which has been looking at strategic options, are way up after the casino company said late yesterday that it had received what it modestly calls indications of interest.
Lisa Von Ahn - Editor