Stocks in the U.S. for now look set for a firmer open on what promises to be a busy day in the markets and a busy day on CNBC. Our correspondents are at major conferences across the U.S. Phil Lebeau is at the auto show in Detroit, where the industry is unveiling new products. Jim Goldman is bringing us the latest tech gadgets from the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, and Mike Huckman is covering the annual JPMorgan healthcare conference in San Francisco, where hundreds of companies are presenting at the first and biggest investment conference of the year for the industry.
European stocks are higher this morning after a weaker performance by Asian markets. Oil is slightly higher after a more than 8 percent decline last week, boosting energy stocks in Europe
Today is light on economic data but you can bet traders will be watching closely to see if Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn makes headlines when he speaks at 12:45 pm. Our Steve Liesman is in Atlanta, where Kohn will speak on the economic outlook to the Rotary Club. He will take questions after the speech, which will stream live on cnbc.com.
TECH UPGRADE: UBS upgrades technology stocks to overweight from equal weight. The firm put computers and peripherals, communication equipment and IT services at overweight from underweight. Chip stocks were moved to equal weight from underweight and software was rated overweight. As part of the rating change, UBS upgraded EMC , IBM and Network Appliances to buy from neutral. Interestingly, the UBS move follows Goldman Sachs report on tech last week which was full of caution. According to Barron's, Goldman said tech stocks will probably pull back in the first half. For the last five years, tech stocks have had negative returns in the first three quarters of the year. So far this year, the information technology sector has been the best performing S&P sector, up 1.5 percent after Thursday's flurry of tech buying.
NOT BUYING IT: Goldman Sachs today downgraded Wal-Mart to neutral from buy, citing possible heavy markdowns.
MERGER MONDAY: It's Monday so of course there's merger news. Caremarklast night rejectedExpress Scripts $26 billion offer in favor of CVS's $22.2 billion offer. Caremark says there were "questionable assumptions" in the Express Scripts bid and it would face antitrust hurdles. Nasdaq meanwhile appealed to London Stock Exchange shareholders that its bid is full and fair. Forest Oilis buyingHouston Exploration for $1.5 billion, and GE (parent company of CNBC)is buying privately held oil and gas drilling and production equipment maker, Vetco Gray for $1.9 billion.
Welcome Dylan Ratigan and "Fast Money" to its new 8 pm daily time slot, starting tonight.