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

Stocks prices are soft ahead of the open, following a slide in Europe and Asia on yesterday's comments from the Fed.

The FOMC March minutes revealed just what equities traders hate to hear. The Fed believes it may need more interest rate hikes to battle inflation and slowing growth is a concern. This was not unexpected, but the "market is not finding as much dovishness as it had hoped for," says our Steve Liesman. We will look at these issues all day today, plus what impact housing could have on the economy, after a more dismal forecast for the year from the National Association of Realtors yesterday.

Shopping for Good News

Making headlines today are retailers' sales reports for March, and some of them are surprises. Wal-Mart for instance, said sales were up 4%, better than expected and its stock initially edged higher before hours. However, Wal-Mart also predicted what would be a rare sales decline for April. A Wal-Mart representative also warned first-quarter guidance on earnings per share of 68 to 71 cents “is still attainable, but given the tough sales environment for the April period, it will be a challenge.”

Rim Shot

Research in Motion sees its stock getting slapped today after weaker-than-expected results last night and a forecast that disappointed analysts.

Vonage CEO Snyder, meanwhile, steps down and the company sets a new cost-cutting plan. The company also said it is still assessing the impact of the patent lawsuit by Verizon on its profitability.

Oil Check

Oil is rising this morning and is closing in on $63 a barrel. Comments from the International Energy Agency that OPEC supplies are at two-year lows are supporting prices, and that drop in U.S. gasoline stockpiles is also a factor. Meanwhile, Boone Pickens last night told On the Money's Melissa Francis that the trend for oil is still up.

Green News

Chevron and Weyerhaeuser are joining together on a possible venture to develop biofuels from cellulose-based sources.