NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were mixed on Friday after the S&P 500 closed above 1400 for the first time since June 2008 in the previous trading session. European shares were rising slightly Friday while Asian stocks finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed slightly higher at 10,129.83; Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2% and South Korea's Kospi declined 0.5%. The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the consumer price index for February at 8:30 a.m. EDT; economists are calling for a 0.4% increase; and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment gauge for March; consensus is for a slight increase to 75.8.
Apple's ( AAPL) new iPad officially went on sale Friday online and in retail stores in the U.S. and nine other countries. The new device hit stores earlier Friday in Asia and Australia. About 450 people lined up outside Apple's Ginza store in downtown Tokyo, The Associated Press reported. Some had spent the night sleeping outside the store waiting for it to open. Apple shares on Thursday made a brief foray above $600. It took about a month for the stock to go from $500 to $600. The stock closed Thursday at $585.56, down $4.02.
United Parcel Service ( UPS) said Friday it was in "constructive" talks to buy TNT Express, its Dutch rival. UPS said it plans a formal bid by May 12. UPS last month offered to buy TNT, the second-largest express delivery company in Europe, for €9 a share, or $6.4 billion, but the offer was rejected.
Italy, the second-most indebted nation in the European Union, paid $3.4 billion to Morgan Stanley ( MS) to unwind derivative contracts from the 1990s that backfired, a person with direct knowledge of the Treasury's payment told Bloomberg. It was cheaper for Italy to cancel the transactions rather than to renew, said the person. Morgan Stanley said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in January that it "executed certain derivatives restructuring amendments which settled on January 3, 2012" and reduced its Italian exposure by $3.4 billion, Bloomberg noted.
Banks including Barclays PLC's Barclays Capital unit, Credit Suisse ( CS) and Goldman Sachs ( GS) are among the banks interested in buying American International Group's ( AIG) complex mortgage-backed assets tied to the insurance company's bailout, The Wall Street Journal reported. The face value of the assets is $47 billion, the newspaper said, and are held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which acquired the assets as part of the $182 billion bailout of AIG in 2008.
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