U.S. Futures Trading Higher

by: SA Editors

At 8:50 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: +3.00; 1,419.40
NASDAQ 100: +4.75; 1,802.00
Dow: +20.00; 12,470.00

International Indexes

Asia
NIKKEI 225: 17,091.59 (01/05)
HANG SENG: -0.90%; 20,029.66 (-181.62)
S&P/ASX 200: -1.26%; 5,502.00 (-70.00)
BSE SENSEX 30: -1.50%; 13,652.15 (-208.37)

Europe
FTSE 100: +0.25%; 6,235.40 (+15.30)
CAC 40: +0.64%; 5,552.46 (+35.11)
XETRA-DAX: +0.48%; 6,624.53 (+31.44)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: +1.24%; $57.01 (+$0.70)
Gold: +0.05%; $609.60 (+$0.30)
Natural Gas: +4.80%; $6.48 (+$0.30)
Silver: +0.29%; $12.315 (+$0.035)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

China Considers More Measures to Cool Economy, Central Bank Governor Says China's central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said he is considering more steps to cool the world's fourth-biggest economy, after lifting bank reserve ratios four times in seven months.

Singapore Aircraft Buys 40 Airbus, Boeing Planes Worth About $3 Billion Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise, owned by Bank of China Ltd., will buy 40 planes from Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA), as it expands its fleet to meet demand from low- cost carriers and other airlines.

China's 2006 Trade Surplus Probably Widened 74 Percent to $177 Billion China's trade surplus probably swelled 74 percent to a record $177 billion last year, adding pressure on the government to let the yuan gain more rapidly.

Asian Stocks Drop, Led by Samsung Electronics and Bank of China; BHP Falls Asian stocks dropped for a fourth day after increases in U.S. jobs and wages damped speculation interest rates will be cut in the region's biggest export market. Samsung Electronics Co. and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. fell.

GM's Sales Outside of U.S. Grow, Led by Demand in China, Latin America General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM), the world's largest carmaker, expects sales growth in China and Latin America and a return to profit in Europe to help it counter slumping demand in the U.S.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

European Stocks Advance on Profit Outlook, Led by SAP, Saint Gobain Shares European stocks advanced for the first time in four days on speculation companies will increase earnings faster than some analysts expect.

Merkel's Pilloried Tax Increase Goes From Growth `Brake' to Just a `Dent' Last April, Henning Kreke, chief executive officer of German cosmetics retailer Douglas Holding AG, pleaded for Chancellor Angela Merkel to ditch plans for a sales-tax increase he said would be a ``brake on growth.''

Trichet `Confident' European, Asian Economies Can Cope With U.S. Slowdown European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said he's optimistic Europe and Asia will be able to withstand a slowing U.S. economy and policy makers must be ready to act against any inflationary risks.

Accor Sells New York, Philadelphia Hotels for $225 Million to Reduce Debt Accor SA, the world's fourth-largest lodging company, will sell New York and Philadelphia hotels from its luxury Sofitel chain for $225 million to help reduce debt and increase profit.

Peugeot Sales Drop as Carmaker Loses Customers to Volkswagen, Toyota, Fiat PSA Peugeot Citroen (OTCPK:PEUGY), Europe's second-biggest automaker, reported car and light-truck sales dropped last year as demand slumped in its home region and the company lost buyers to Volkswagen AG (OTCPK:VLKAY), Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) and Fiat SpA (NYSEARCA:FIA).

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Caremark Rejects Express Scripts $26 Billion Bid, Prefers Lower CVS Offer Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX), the second-biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefits manager, rejected a $26 billion unsolicited bid from Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX), choosing to back a lower offer from drugstore chain CVS Corp. (NYSE:CVS).

Economy Poised to Rebound in U.S. After Weathering Worst of Housing Slump The homebuilding industry is about to stop hurting the U.S. economy and later this year may start to help it.

General Electric to Buy Vetco From 3i, Candover, JPMorgan for $1.9 Billion General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) agreed to buy drilling-equipment maker Vetco Gray Inc. for $1.9 billion as dwindling oil and gas reserves prompt energy companies to boost investment in opening up new fields.

U.S. Stock-Index Futures Gain; IBM, EMC Shares Advance After UBS Upgrade U.S. stock-index futures rose after analysts recommended investors buy shares of computer-related companies and General Electric Co. (GE) agreed to purchase drilling- equipment maker Vetco Gray Inc. for $1.9 billion.

Welsh Carson to Acquire United Surgical Partners for $1.8 Billion in Cash Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe Inc., the buyout firm that helped create United Surgical Partners International Inc. (OTCPK:USPI) eight years ago, agreed to buy the company for $1.8 billion in cash.