Tech is the bright spot today and could be a big market driver. That Nasdaq is particularly strong after its 1% gain yesterday. Major stock markets in Europe are all higher, after Asian markets closed with gains. The Dow and S&P 500 had just slight gains yesterday of just above 0.3% each. The dollar today trends higher against the yen, but lower against the euro. Oil is up slightly.
Leaking Like A SIV
A Fed official told CNBC's Steve Liesman that the Fed tentatively endorses the Treasury-encouraged plan by banks to create a huge superfund designed to deal with the troubled commercial paper market. The official says critical details still need to be worked out but that it basically is a good idea and will help Wall Street avoid a fire sale of debt held by structured investment vehicles (SIVs).
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson called on China this morning to speed up market reforms and open its economy to more competition. Paulson's comments come just days after the G-7 called on China to to let the value of its currency rise faster.
Apple is the standout, with a big jump in profits after-the-bell yesterday on strong sales of Mac computers, iPhones and iPods.
Apple's blockbuster 67% earnings gain to $904 million has a couple firms out talking up the stock today. Bear Stearns moved its target on the stock to $243 for 2008, UBS increased its price target to $220, and ThinkEquity increased its target to $227. ThinkEquity says it believes Apple will continue to outpace the industry's growth heading into the holiday season.
Dupont also delivered a positive report and raised its forecast. UPS had better than expected results with a 3.7% increase in profits to $1.1 billion, but the company made cautious statements about the economy. It said it expects slowing retail sales to affect U.S. domestic volume growth.
AT&T reported third quarter earnings of $3.06 billion, up 41% because of the acquisition of Bellsouth and the addition of two million wireless customers. AT&T beat forecasts and is expected to have benefited from its exclusive contract to deliver wireless phone service for Apple's hot iPhone.
Cleaning up the Mess
Countrywide Financial said it will begin calling borrowers to offer modifications or refinancing on $16 billion in loans that are subject to interest rate adjustments by the end of 2008.
MF Global's Andy Breener said in his morning note that he sees signs investors are focused on "stocks and reallocations back to stocks from bonds." That trend caused some selling in the bond market overnight.
California Wild Fires
The fires in California continue to blaze out of control. CNBC's Jane Wells reports on the loss and threat to homes, while CNBC's Scott Cohn, also on the ground in California, reports on the business disruption caused by the fires and mass evacuation of residents.