U.S. On Tap For Higher Opening

by: SA Editors

At 8:30 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: +1.60; 1,431.40
NASDAQ 100: +3.25; 1,788.50
Dow: +17.00; 12,518.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: +0.34%; 17,104.96 (+57.13)
HANG SENG: +0.51%; 19,320.52 (+97.68)
S&P/ASX 200: +0.36%; 5,603.70 (+20.20)

FTSE 100: +0.10%; 6,190.00 (+6.30)
CAC 40: -0.26%; 5,496.16 (-14.23)
XETRA-DAX: -0.13%; 6,565.17 (-8.79)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: +0.53%; $62.99 (+$0.33)
Gold: +0.10%; $622.20 (+$0.60)
Natural Gas: -1.71%; $6.68 (-$0.12)
Silver: +0.84%; $12.595 (+0.105)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Toyota Forecasts Record Car Sales, Set to Surpass General Motors in 2007 Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) expects demand for its fuel-efficient cars in the U.S., Asia and Europe to raise vehicle sales 6 percent in 2007, likely ending General Motors Corp.'s (NYSE:GM) 81-year reign as the world's largest carmaker.

Asian Stocks Advance on Economic Reports; Toyota Gains on Record Forecast Asian stocks rose to a seven-month high, led by National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) and Shinhan Financial Group Ltd. (NYSE:SHG), after consumer confidence and economic indicators in South Korea and Australia raised expectations for regional growth.

China's Government Rejects Plan to Break Up Agricultural Bank, Wen Says China rejected a proposal to break up Agricultural Bank of China, the biggest lender to the nation's 800 million farmers, as part of a plan to sell shares and cut its record bad loans, a document given to Bloomberg shows.

Baht Set for Biggest Weekly Loss Since 2002 on New Currency Restrictions The Thai baht this week slumped the most since July 2002 as investors withdrew funds because of central bank rules aimed at weakening the currency.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

European Stocks Drop, Paced by Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Vodafone Shares European stocks fell for a second day after a slump in U.S. manufacturing heightened concern global economic expansion may slow. Mining companies led the retreat.

Vodafone Says It May Make Offer for Controlling Stake in Hutchison Essar Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD), the world's largest mobile-phone company, may make an offer for a controlling stake in India's Hutchison Essar Ltd. to gain direct access to the world's fastest-growing wireless market.

French Business Confidence Falls on Euro's Climb; Consumer Spending Rises French business confidence unexpectedly fell as the Euro's increase clouded the outlook for exporters and manufacturers signaled they may curb production.

BP Failed Safety Tests After Texas Refinery Blast, Plant Manager Testifies A BP Plc refinery flunked an independent safety review begun a year after an explosion ripped through the Texas City, Texas, facility, killing 15 and injuring hundreds, a company executive said in a sworn statement.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

ImClone, McAfee, E*Trade Executives May Have Timed Options to Reduce Taxes ImClone Systems Inc. (OTCPK:IMCL), McAfee Inc. (MFE) and E*Trade Financial Corp. (NYSE:ET) are among more than 500 companies that may have misreported dates their executives exercised stock options to reduce taxes, a research group said.

Research In Motion Shares Advance as BlackBerry Spurs Sales and Earnings Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) jumped after the company said fourth-quarter sales and profit may beat analysts' estimates on demand for BlackBerry e-mail devices.

Toyota May Surpass General Motors in 2007 With Record Car Sales Forecast Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) may end General Motors Corp.'s (GM) 81-year reign as the world's largest carmaker as soon as next year.

Walgreen Profit Surges on Sales of Generics, Medicare Plan; Shares Climb Walgreen Co. (WAG), the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, said first-quarter profit rose 25 percent, lifted by generic drugs and a new Medicare prescription plan.