U.S. stocks are ready to rise at the open after equities markets worldwide set records of their own on the back of Wall Street's big rally.
Stock futures though gave up some of their early gains after the Commerce Department reported retail sales for June fell 0.9%, the steepest drop in almost two years. Economists had expected the number to be flat.
This morning, Dow component General Electric reported profits in line with analysts' expectations. Net for the quarter was $5.42 billion, up 9.6%. GE, CNBC's parent, also announced an expanded $14 billion stock buyback and said it plans to shed WMC, its subprime mortgage unit.
Oil is edging toward $73 per barrel this morning after the International Energy Agency predicted in its monthly report that oil demand will grow more quickly in 2008 than this year. The IEA also said higher production and refinery capacity should ease pressure on supply.
Texas oil man Boone Pickens made a new prediction on oil prices this morning. "I think you're going to see 80 (dollars per barrel) before I'm 80. I'm going to be 80 next May," Pickens told "Squawk Box."
"What I see is from the producers' side -- that the Saudis, Russians, all of them --producers, they want a higher price for oil and what they're searching for is how much can the market stand ... they'll keep pushing it up as high as it can go," Pickens said.
CNBC's Bob Pisani told us we were seeing a relief rally yesterday morning as some of the subprime debt worries faded and retailers reported better than expected sales. But by afternoon stocks were off on a blazing bull run.
The best Dow day in four years is certainly reason to cheer but also reason to look for signs of fatigue. The Dow rose 283 points or 2.1%, to 13,861, its 50th record close since October. The Dow is now up 11% for the year.
The S&P also chalked up a record run, hitting a new closing high of 1547. The S&P 500 rose 28 points or 1.9%.
The Nasdaq rose 49, or 1.9%, and as CNBC's Rebecca Jarvis says, from the Nasdaq market site, don't count it out. That index hit a new 6-1/2 year high and some of the big cap tech names are also notching highs.
Will the Bull Run On
"We need to see about earnings. Earnings are going to come in above expectations and the $64,000 question is how far above," says CNBC's Larry Kudlow.
Kudlow says though the market's move up is a "long term commitment and we still have a long ways to go."
The second quarter earnings season is in full swing next week with reports from banks, airlines and big tech companies. GE's fairly routine report today is likely to soothe the market. GE is closely watched because of its diverse profit portfolio and multinational exposure.
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo says global profit growth is a key to this market's run.
"I think right now you're really seeing a global economic expansion. That's the underpinnings of what's going on," says Bartiromo, pointing to growth in China, India and Europe to name a few hot spots. "U.S. companies are benefiting from this in a big way."
"Unless we have a major fallout in the credit markets, it's hard to see this reversing," she said.
Blackstone, which helped bring Congressional focus to the world of private equity, has crafted a plan to avoid paying taxes on $3.7 billion, according to the New York Times. The Times reports that Blackstone will pay $553 million in taxes but the partners will get that back, and more, from the government. This was all revealed in the fine print of Blackstone's financial documents. More fire for those that want to change tax laws.