Stocks were mixed in early trading after Iran's president said the British sailors would be freed. Oil moved lower, under $64 a barrel. Oil inventory data is due at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Just ahead of the market open, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would release the 15 British sailors detained in the Gulf last month. He called it a gift to the people of the United Kingdom. Qatar's oil minister told Dow Jones shortly after that oil prices were returning to "normal."
Asia's key markets sprung higher overnight on the back of Wall Street's strength but European markets are quietly mixed.
Lots of corporate news headlines are grabbing attention today in a pre-holiday rush.
DRIVING AWAY In Berlin this morning, Daimler-Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche confirmed the company received bids for its Chrysler unit but that it is keeping options open. The Wall Street Journal reports that big Daimler shareholders, attending the company's annual meeting today, made it clear they favor Daimler getting rid of Chrysler. Private equity firms are believed to be the lead bidders, including Cerberus, Blackstone and Centerbridge Partners.
PRIVATE EQUITY Speaking of private equity, Apollo Management is considering taking itself public. It would follow closely on the heels of rival Blackstone Group if it decides to take the plunge. Our Charlie Gasparino yesterday scooped the rest of the financial news media yesterday with his exclusive on Apollo and quotes one source as saying an offering is "90% certain."
NYSE Euronext starts its first day of trading today, and we will hear from NYSE Chairman John Thain later today.
Best Buy earnings beat estimates, while Circuit City meanwhile reported a loss, saying its fourth quarter sales growth was less than expected.
JOBS DATA As we await the March employment report Friday, ADP, which does its own preview of jobs, says there were 106,000 jobs added in March. The consensus is 135,000. The stock market is closed Friday when the jobs number is released but Squawk Box will be on the air and will report the number and the reaction in the bond and futures markets.