Stocks are searching for a starting point this morning with futures mixed on the first trading day of the second quarter. Merger headlines and weaker oil could be positives. A big focus for the markets today will be ISM manufacturing data, due at 10 a.m. EDT.
European stocks are mostly higher as merger activity brightens up stocks there. Japan's stock market ended sharply lower after the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey showed worsening business confidence.
MERGER MONDAYKKR leads the charge with a mega deal for First Data, the big credit card processing firm. KKR is paying $34 cash per share, or $29 billion. Xerox is acquiring Global Imaging for $1.46 billion. In other deal news, the Wall Street Journal is quoting a source who says Sam Zell has won the bidding for Tribune Co. The Journal also reports that Google is getting in on the action for DoubleClick and could bid against Microsoft for the company.
EMI announced that Apple's online store, iTunes will be the first retailer to sell EMI's new downloads. CNBC’s Jim Goldman will have the latest on the two companies, including how they fair in early trade.
STANDOFF Iran today says all the British sailors concede that they entered Iraqi waters. Oil, for now, is weaker and trading under $66 a barrel.
UP AND DOWN WALL STREET As the second quarter begins, analysts are busy shifting their views on some stocks. Citigroup today cut FedEx to hold from buy and decreased the price target to $120 on concerns a softer U.S. economy will impact it. UBS also removed FedEx from its strategic stock selections.
Goldman made comments on its fellow brokers, adding Merrill Lynch to its conviction list and removing Morgan Stanley.
TRADING FLOOR ENVY The Wall Street Journal describes a race among the big Wall Street firms to find new Manhattan real estate for trading floors. Goldman Sachs leads the way with a new building in lower Manhattan that will house six large, state of the art trading floors. The Journal says other firms are now scouring the city in an "office-space race" to find a place for their own gigantic, technologically advanced trading rooms. This is an endorsement of New York City's dominance as a financial center and its recovery from 9/11. But also in another era, it was clearly a sign of a pending top when Wall Street firms were worried about whose trading floor was bigger.