Wall Street eases back to work

Stock futures head higher as traders return from holiday weekend; JPMorgan's bid for Bear in focus.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stock futures moved higher early Monday as investors returned from the long weekend and eyed the possibility of a higher bid for Wall Street firm Bear Stearns.

Just before the start of trading, Nasdaq and S&P futures were a shade higher, although a comparison to fair value suggested a weak open. U.S. and European markets were closed Friday.

Investors face a busy economic calendar this week. The string of reports kicks off Monday with a reading on February existing home sales, due out at 10 a.m. ET.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com forecast that home sales will slip further to an annual rate of 4.86 million from 4.89 million in January, which would set yet another record low for that measure.

In the latest news from the battered financial markets, JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) may hike its offer for rival Bear Stearns (BSC, Fortune 500) fivefold to $10 a share, according to a report in the New York Times.

Last week JPMorgan reached a deal to buy Bear for just $2 a share. It's looking at the higher bid to win approval of the deal from major shareholders, including key employees of Bear Stearns, who have been critical of the fire-sale price.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's announced Friday it was weighing whether to downgrade Goldman Sachs Group (GS, Fortune 500) and Lehman Brothers Holdings (LEH, Fortune 500).

In other corporate news, the owner of privately held Tribune Company is looking at a possible sale of some of its properties. The move comes amid reports that News Corp. (NWS, Fortune 500) - which owns the New York Post - as well as the owner of rival Daily News and Long Island cable operator Cablevision (CVC, Fortune 500) are all in discussions about a possible purchase of Newsday, the Tribune Company's Long Island newspaper.

In global trade, Asian stocks mostly gained, led by a surge in Taiwan shares after an election there. European markets were closed for the Easter Monday holiday. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
15 top executives with $1 salaries Some CEOs and founders agree to salaries of just $1 a year. But once goodies like bonuses and stock options are added in, some of those executives end up taking home many millions of dollars a year. More
Mercedes SL65 AMG: 621 horses of topless power Turn heads as you blow by traffic in this roadster convertible from Mercedes. More
Where the middle class is most unequal CNNMoney looks at the five states with the biggest differences in middle class incomes. More


Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.