The stock market enters the week boosted by a merger-driven buzz. Asian stock markets closed higher, and merger activity is helping European markets there gain. Earnings news, retail sales for March, and the Empire state manufacturing survey could all influence trading. Retail sales for March were up 0.7%, more than expected.
A drenching Northeaster grounded hundreds of east coast flights and could bite into the staffing in some trading rooms as major flooding stalls travel in New York City suburbs.
Sallie Mae, the student loan provider, says it will be sold for $25 billion to a group of investors led by J.C. Flowers. Google, after the bell Friday, said it was buying DoubleClick. Meanwhile, Microsoft, a failed suitor for DoubleClick, is already complaining to regulators about the deal. Google also plans to sell advertising on more than 675 Clear Channel radio stations.
ABN Amro, being courted by Barclays and a rival group of suitors, reported its earnings 10 days early and says net increased 31% with the help of a gain from the sale of its mortgage business.
Citigroup was out of the box early today with its first-quarter profit report. Earnings before charges topped analysts' estimates. Excluding an $871 million restructuring charge, profits of $1.18 per share beat estimates of $1.10 per share.
The FDIC holds what could be an important meeting in Washington today with a group of lenders, brokers and others associated with subprime mortgages. We will monitor this meeting as the agency discusses the subprime mess and the pending reset of many mortgages.
What They Didn't Say
The fact that the G7 did not express concern about the yen's weakness sent the currency to a record low against the Euro today. The G7 repeated its call for exchange rates to reflect economic fundamentals and cited China in calling for the greater flexibility, something it's said before.
Around the World
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosts an energy summit of South American leaders today. Chavez wants the 12-nation conference to consider regional integration as a counterweight to the United States and he would like to use oil wealth to consolidate regional.