Stock markets around the world opened the New Year on a note of optimism. European shares are close to six year highs this morning, and Hong Kong closed just under its all time high. U.S. stock exchanges are closed in honor of the national day of mourning for President Gerald Ford.
Services for Ford are held this morning. Our Hampton Pearson will be there, and John Harwood will discuss President Ford's legacy.
In the markets, the dollar traded lower overnight. NYMEX floor trading is closed, but oil will trade in an electronic session today. Bond traders will be at their desks for an 11 am Treasury auction this morning before the bond market closes early at 2 pm our time. Currency and interest rate futures will trade in shortened sessions on the Chicago exchanges. Our Rick Santelli will be at his usual market posts. CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia will bring us extended coverage of stock trading in their markets today.
It should be a quiet day for corporate news. But some holiday cheer came from Wal-Mart over the weekend when it reported December sales rose 1.6 percent, better than expected and its best monthly sales gain since August. Our Margaret Brennan says that other retailers are expected to report moderate gains when same store sales numbers are released Thursday. She also says many analysts see sales numbers coming in a few points light due to the gift card phenomena. Sales of gift cards are not registered by retailers until customers bring them back to the register, and much of those sales will show up in January.
We will spend today looking ahead at how the markets and business will do this year. Phil Lebeau will preview the airline industry, Jim Goldman will look at tech trends, Diana Olick will talk about the real estate outlook, and Julia Boorstin will discuss the outlook for media and entertainment. Sharon Epperson reports on a new CNBC energy survey that will tell us where the experts see oil prices heading in 2007.
The Wall Street Journal paints a fairly rosy picture of 2007 today. It surveyed economists who see the US economy ready to regain momentum by the end of 2007. The survey of 60 economists predicts the service sector will stay strong and weakness in housing and manufacturing should abate. They predict first half GDP will grow at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent, and second half will grow at 2.8 percent. The Journal also reports economists see corporate profit growth slowing and could slow to single digit gains. Our Steve Liesman will look ahead at the economy today.
The New York Times reports today that the Massachusetts officials are investigating whether there is a conflict of interest for big banks that lease office space to hedge funds. Investigators have subpoenaed UBS, the paper reports.