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CNBC's Domm: Today's Agenda in the Markets

Futures are perking up this morning and are setting stocks up for a firmer opening. Traders are turning their attention to earnings and some percolating merger news, and there's a calm on Wall Street after Friday's late day, mad dash down-hill ride for stocks.

Asian markets closed mostly higher after an initial bout of selling and Europe is lower after initially making some gains.

Lingering worries about the credit markets continue to weigh on sentiment after last week's ugly sell off.

"The mood is wait and see still. The S&P futures had a good range overnight. The treasury market though is not taking any chances. It's still hovering at 4.75% in the 10-year. I think it's going to be a big day for volatility and a big day for market ranges," said CNBC's Rick Santelli.

MERGER MONDAY

Just a trickle of merger news is making headlines, mostly of the strategic, corporate buyer to corporate seller sort. Verizon is buying Rural Cellular for $2.7 billion.

In ongoing sagas, ABN Amro said it no longer backs Barclays bid in the face of a higher offer from Royal Bank of Scotland's bidding group.

The Bancroft family is expected to decide today whether to sell Dow Jones to News Corp for $5 billion. The family members have until 5 p.m. New York time to make a decision.

EARNINGS CENTRAL

There's a good flow of earnings news this morning. So far, Verizon reported profits of $1.7 billion, in line with estimates. Humana reported stronger than expected profit and raised its quarterly and full-year guidance.

AROUND THE WORLD

In an effort to curb its red hot growth, China once more raised reserve requirements for lenders, the ninth such move in 13 months.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, meanwhile, says he won't resign after voters turned against his ruling coalition in upper house elections yesterday. Analysts say an upper house controlled by Abe's opposition could force him to pull back on market oriented policy.

President Bush today meets at Camp David with U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the first time.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

As we look ahead to jobs data Friday, a new survey shows that 47% of mid-sized companies expect to add to their workforces in the next 12 months, while 44% expect no change and 9% expect a decline. Less than a third of the firms expect strong economic growth. Nearly two thirds of the companies see revenue growth in the next 12 months. The survey was conducted by CIT and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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BARC
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HUM
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FOXA
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VZ
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