The stock market has an appointment with the Fed today and Wall Street is largely non-committal ahead of the open. But some healthy earnings reports are adding positive sentiment.
Oracle reported a big jump in profits yesterday on the back of a string of acquisitions, and Morgan Stanley this morning blew past Wall Street estimates, reporting a 60% rise in profit.
Asian stocks were mixed overnight and European markets were mostly higher.
Our Hampton Pearson will be at the Federal Reserve to report its statement at 2:15 pm. No adjustment in rates is expected, but economists expect the Fed to leave its meeting with a vow to fight inflation clutched tightly in its talons. Some economists say the Fed could make reference to slower economic growth and the mortgage market mess.
Other profit reports we will be watching today are FedEx, a bellwether for the economy, and Starbucks . FedEx reported a 2% decline in net income and says the economy grew at a slower rate than it expected in the last quarter because of the auto industry and housing markets. Its earnings were also hit by severe winter storms.
Yesterday afternoon, our Jim Goldman told us that Motorola is the leading contender to buy Palm . We'll be listening for new developments on that story which also involves an odd twist for Motorola. Speculation that CEO Ed Zander will soon leave or take some extreme restructuring action surfaced yesterday after he canceled his keynote address at a high-profile industry conference next week. Palm management also ponders a private equity buyout, says Goldman.
Summer on the Mind
The first day of spring brings with it a new chatter to the oil markets, and it's all about summer driving. The summer driving season, of course, could pressure prices even further and therefore, oil is getting a lift as the market rolls into its new contract. Oil is higher this morning, above $59 a barrel.
Former Vice President Al Gore goes to Capital Hill today to discuss climate change issues.