Firming in the index futures and Treasury markets has put a nice tone on the stock market this morning.
"There's an absence of bad news, so you might as well invest," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at
. "I think you're going to get a little pop to the upside today -- or at least this morning."
But Myers doubts that stocks will make a massive amount of headway before Thursday, when
is set to give his
testimony. Investors expect the Fed head will clear up some of the confusion on whether the bank will raise interest rates at its late-August meeting.
At 9 a.m. EDT, the
futures were 3, putting them 2 above fair value. The 30-year Treasury was up 8/32 to 91 8/32, dropping the yield to 5.88%.
With money continuing to pour into the market from overseas and indications that the government may put together another round of economic stimuli, Tokyo stocks gained ground. The
climbed 284.28, or 1.6%, to 18,532.58. Recent laggards got attention as some investors went bargain-hunting ahead of tomorrow's holiday.
Continued nervousness over Sino-Taiwanese tensions weighed on Hong Kong stocks. The
dropped 98.11 to 13,447,13. Also worrying investors was increased talk on the mainland of devaluing the renminbi.
Though Taiwan's squabble with China is still far from resolution, Taiwanese shares were able post gains for the first time in a week. After dropping sharply at the open, the
Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Price
was able to recover, closing up 20.66 to 7386.89. But there was little to be happy about -- the index has lost 14% since last Monday, and the rebound came on the back of heavy government fund buying.
European stocks were mostly higher.
In Frankfurt, the
was up 27.8 to 5647.74 despite pressure on the bund. Trading was active in
on reports that it is still considering taking a stake in
Cable & Wireless'
mobile phone unit. Telekom was lately up 0.2%.
The news in Paris was
50.3 billion euro ($50.8 billion) counter-bid for
, two weeks after TotalFina's hostile offer for Elf. After a morning suspension of trade, Elf was down fractionally, while TotalFina was up 3.6%. Paris'
was off 4.02 to 4652.77.
was up 24.4 to 6587.6. But there was little conviction one way or the other: Volume was very thin.
Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist
posted second-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share, beating the
22-analyst estimate of 65 cents and up from the year-ago 57 cents.
is assessing a number of initiatives to boost its stock price, including a possible divestiture of its auto-parts unit,
Visteon Automotive Systems
The Wall Street Journal
reported. One scenario under consideration, people close to the situation say, is the possible merger of Visteon with
, the newspaper said.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
(Earnings estimates are from First Call.)
Bank of America
posted second-quarter operating earnings of $1.15 a share, beating the 27-analyst estimate by a penny and up from the year-ago $1.13.
reported second-quarter earnings of $1.80 a share, beating the 12-analyst estimate of $1.73.
posted second-quarter earnings of 69 cents a share, beating the 13-analyst estimate by a penny.
Delta Air Lines
reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $2.40 a share, beating the 11-analyst estimate of $2.31 and up from the year-ago $2.26.
posted second-quarter consolidated operating earnings of 61 cents a share, beating the 13-analyst estimate by a penny.
reported a pro forma net loss from ongoing operations of 9 cents a share, which excludes a charge of a penny. The 11-analyst estimate called for a loss of 12 cents. In the year-ago period, E*Trade earned 3 cents a share.
is expected to post earnings today. The 21-analyst estimate is calling for Big Blue to earn 88 cents a share in the second quarter.
posted second-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, beating the 10-analyst estimate of 49 cents and up from the year-ago 38 cents.
reported second-quarter earnings of $2.52 a share, beating the 12-analyst estimate of $2.24 and up from the year-ago $1.96, which excludes a gain.
is expected to post fiscal fourth-quarter earnings today. The 26-analyst estimate is projecting earnings of 36 cents a share.
posted second-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share, in line with the 20-analyst estimate, but down from the year-ago 46 cents.
reported second-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share, beating the 24-analyst estimate of 17 cents.
reported a second-quarter loss of 10 cents a share, narrower than the seven-analyst estimate of a loss of 11 cents and improved from the year-ago loss of 17 cents.
reported earnings from continuing operations of 8 cents a share, better than the 15-analyst estimate of 5 cents and up from the year-ago net loss from continuing operations of 40 cents. Viacom also said it amended the previously filed registration statement with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
for a proposed initial public offering of 31 million shares of class A common stock of
, representing approximately 17.7% of its shares. Viacom said it currently estimates that the IPO price will be between $16 and $18 a share.
reported earnings of 55 cents a share, beating the 28-analyst estimate by a penny and up from the year-ago 43 cents.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
plans to start a new Internet company in partnership with Tim Robertson, the son of evangelist
, that aims to give parents a way to screen out pornographic material, hate sites and other information that might not be suitable for children on the Web, the
is acquiring privately held
for $280 million in stock.
is in talks to sell its international container-shipping business to
, and a deal, which could be announced as early as this week, may involve about $800 million in combined cash and assumption of debt, the
reported, citing people familiar with the talks.
is pondering exercising an option to complete a takeover of
, the Swedish carmaker, by acquiring a second half of the company from Sweden's
, according to a
U S West
buyout offer, while
will continue with its planned purchase of
, via its subsidiary
, is buying
for $764 million. CommNet is controlled by
Blackstone Capital Partners II
, a private equity fund of
The Blackstone Group
, a private investment bank in New York.