Stocks are waffling on the opening and look set to open flat to lower. Traders are picking through headlines on mergers and earnings news, including weaker-than-expected results from Home Depot . Wal-Mart also reported profits this morning, and merger news is making headlines as Wall Street reviews the long-awaited marriage of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio , announced yesterday.
European stocks are flat to lower, after a flat trading day in Tokyo overnight. Oil is in a slide this morning, down more than $1 in early trading.
We'll take a look at the much anticipated $11.4 billion merger between XM and Sirius and whether there are antitrust concerns.
Retail Earnings Central
Home Depot fourth quarter profits fell 28%, missing analysts estimates. Worth a read for insight into his view on Home Depot is Barron's cover story about activist shareholder Ralph Whitworth, titled "Nardelli Slayer." Home Depot's net declined to $925 million from $1.29 billion. Wal-Mart profits rose 9.8% and topped analysts estimates. Net rose to $3.94 billion from $3.59 billion. Our Margaret Brennan will take a look at both companies' reports.
Hewlett-Packard profits are reported later today.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche looks increasingly set to drive away from Chrysler with his Mercedes division as talk builds that there are buyers for Chrysler, possibly including GM. JP Morgan is expected to begin an auction for the money losing US unit this week, just days after Zetsche revealed the company is reviewing options for Chrysler. The UAW meanwhile speaks out, saying it gets a voice in any deal and it's not prepared to give up wages or benefits.
JetBlue , caught in an ugly public relations mess, began reimbursing stranded passengers and is set to announce a customers' bill of rights program later today. Jet Blue's CEO David Neeleman will talk to us on "Squawk on the Street."
Vulcan Materials is buyingFlorida Rock for $4.6 billion. EBay , meanwhile, is reported to be opposed to an IRS plan to tax customers who are heavy users and carry out 100 or more transactions a year, worth at least $5,000. IRS thinks it could collect $2 billion in revenues.
Around the World
As the UN's chief watchdog warns Iran could be six months away from being able to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, the Wall Street Journal takes a look inside Iran. It says Iran may have to start rationing gasoline because it has allowed production to stagnate and its internal energy consumption is high. In fact, Iran's oil exports could dry up in the next decade.