Today could be the day the S&P 500 sets a new closing high if pre-opening activity holds as a barometer. The Richmond Fed survey is the only data point due on a day that is already thick with deal activity. European markets are mixed and Asia was mostly higher.
The S&P 500 rose Tuesday above its March, 2000 closing high of 1,527, but finished two points shy. The Dow fizzled yesterday to close down 13 points after setting a new intraday high of 13,586. But it was the Nasdaq that carried the day, climbing 20 points, or 0.8%.
All three indices are edging higher in the futures market this morning.
Oil is slightly lower this morning after a 2% jump Monday as violence in Nigeria keeps the pressure on supply concerns. Gasoline is biting at the pump, and our Margaret Brennan will report all day on the fuel price outlook. We will also look at the pressure of record-high gas prices on consumers ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer driving season.
A big focus in the markets and in Washington today will be the Bush administration's meetings with Chinese officials. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told our Becky Quick this morning that the dialogue with China is about more than just currency and ongoing discussions are the best way to make progress on trade issues. Paulson would not tell us if he is a bull or a bear, but said he is encouraged by the strength of the world economy.
Those deal makers at Blackstone Group, who welcomed a $3 billion investment from China this week, are also making headlines this morning. Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman spoke to our Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
"He said this is not about politics. It's about the Chinese wanting to get a better return on their money," said Caruso-Cabrera. Interestingly, she said Schwarzman also told her Blackstone looks at many deals but more often is not the winning buyer.
"He says that they are in many deals, most of which they get beat on because the prices are too high," she said.
Speaking of Deals
Tracinda is looking at options for its MGM Mirage stake and says it would enter talks to purchase the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and CityCenter properties in Las Vegas. Fremont is selling its commercial real estate business for $1.9 billion to iStar Financial .