Stocks are barely budging ahead of the open today as traders wade through a few earnings reports and look to personal income and spending data, construction spending and the Chicago purchasing managers reports. European markets are higher, while oil is trading slightly lower.
The "R" Word
There's renewed talk of the possibility of recession on Wall Street this morning after Bloomberg news service highlighted three Wall Street firms' views on the economy. The views are not new, but after weak first-quarter GDP figures, the idea of recession could crop up. Meanwhile, CNBC called eight economic forecasters Friday, including two of the three named in the article, and their fundamental view of the economy strengthening a bit in the second quarter was unchanged. "It doesn't seem that any of the three investment banks has downgraded their forecast and none at the moment even call for a recession in their official forecast. It may happen, but that's not what they're calling for," says our Steve Liesman. Bloomberg says the chief economists at the firms say the housing slump may drive the economy into recession.
The Financial Times today says senior Citigroup executives are worried the company could become the target of activist hedge funds that would push for a breakup of the financial services giant. Our Melissa Lee will look at that story today. CEO Chuck Prince has been under pressure to juice up Citi's share price, and recently announced a restructuring that brings with it lots of headcount reduction.
Verizon reported an 8.4 % drop in first quarter net which included asset sales. The Royal Bank of Scotland-led bidding group for ABN Amro has lined up most of its financing, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo! , meanwhile, plans to buy 80% of Right Media it doesn't already own.
Delta flies out of bankruptcy, and our Phil Lebeau reports on what its executives are saying about the future.
When it's not buyouts, it's buybacks firing up the stock market. Today Merrill Lynch added some fuel, saying it would buy back $6 billion of its own stock.
Today, Paul Wolfowitz testifies before a group of World Bank directors investigating his conduct. The directors are expected to rule later in the week whether he broke bank rules by arranging a large pay raise for a woman friend.
A national mining strike led by Peru's National Federation of Mining, Metallurgy and Steel Workers started today as planned.