U.S. To Open Flat After Strong Shopping Weekend

by: SA Editors

At 8:50 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: -1.30; 1,401.60
NASDAQ 100: -4.75; 1,815.50
Dow: -6.00; 12,295.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: +0.96%; 15,885.38 (+150.78)
HANG SENG: -0.29%; 19,204.01 (-56.29)
S&P/ASX 200: -0.03%; 5,452.20 (-1.40)
BSE SENSEX 30: +0.51%; 13,773.59 (+70.26)

FTSE 100: -0.52%; 6,090.40 (-31.70)
CAC 40: -0.63%; 5,355.73 (-33.73)
XETRA-DAX: -0.99%; 6,348.65 (-63.31)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: +0.71%; $59.66 (+$0.42)
Gold: +1.59%; $645.50 (+$10.10)
Natural Gas: +2.93%; $7.94 (+$0.23)
Silver: +3.00%; $13.625 (+$0.397)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Asian Stocks Rise to Three-Week High; United Microelectronics, Hanjin Gain Asian stocks advanced to a three- week high as the biggest takeover attempt in Taiwan raised speculation mergers in the region will increase.

Origin Agrees to Buy Sun Retail from State of Queensland for $937 Million Origin Energy Ltd., the provider of power and natural gas to one in seven Australian households, agreed to pay A$1.2 billion ($937 million) for an electricity retailer owned by Queensland state, increasing customers by 45 percent.

AWB Executives Should Be Charged Over Kickbacks to Hussein, Inquiry Finds AWB Ltd. executives paid kickbacks to win sales to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, a government inquiry found, recommending charges against 11 officials from Australia's monopoly wheat exporter.

Hong Kong's Export Growth Accelerates in October on U.S., European Demand Hong Kong's export growth accelerated in October for the first time in three months as the city's port shipped more Chinese-made toys and electronics bound for the U.S. and Europe.

Hanjin Shipping Shares Surge on Takeover Speculation After Chairman Dies Shares of Hanjin Shipping Co., South Korea's largest shipping line by sales, jumped 8 percent on speculation that the company may become a takeover target following the death of its chairman.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Bayer Profit Drops Less-Than-Estimated 35 Percent on Schering Integration Bayer AG (BAY), Germany's largest drugmaker, said third-quarter profit fell less than analysts estimated and raised the earnings forecast for its pharmaceuticals unit after the 17 billion-euro ($22.3 billion) purchase of Schering AG.

Euro Climbs Against Dollar, Yen on Prospects for European Rate Increases The euro climbed to the highest level since March 2005 against the dollar and reached a record against the yen on speculation interest rates in Europe will rise faster than in the U.S. and Japan.

Iberdrola Secures Loan to Finance Possible $21 Billion Scottish Power Bid Iberdrola SA, Spain's second-biggest electricity company preparing to launch an 11 billion-pound ($21 billion) bid for Scottish Power Plc, hired three banks to finance the takeover, according to bankers involved in the transaction.

Stocks Fall in Europe as Dollar Slides; DaimlerChrysler, Hanson, LVMH Drop European stocks dropped for a fourth day, led by DaimlerChrysler AG (DCX) and Hanson Plc (HAN), after the dollar's retreat against the euro and pound raised concern exporters' profits may fall.

Banco Bilbao Will Raise $3.9 Billion Selling Stock After Acquisition Binge Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain's second-biggest bank, plans to raise 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in the country's largest share sale in six years after acquisitions in Asia, the U.S. and Latin America depleted its capital.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Rises 19 Percent as Shoppers Seek Out Sales U.S. consumers shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend spent 19 percent more than they did a year earlier, outpacing the advance of 2005, after retailers slashed prices to attract customers.

ACS Ousts Chief Executive Officer, Finance Chief in Options Investigation Affiliated Computer Services Inc. (ACS), the world's biggest processor of student loans, ousted Chief Executive Officer Mark A. King and finance chief Warren D. Edwards after a probe showed that stock options were backdated.

U.S. Stock-Index Futures Are Little Changed; Wal-Mart Drops, Exxon Gains U.S. stock-index futures were little changed. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), the world's biggest retailer, retreated after November sales missed its own forecast. Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), the world's largest oil company, gained after crude oil futures topped $60 a barrel.

Oil Shares Signal a Rebound; Pickens, Lehman Predict Record Prices in 2007 Oil stocks are signaling that crude prices may rebound to a record in 2007.

Spitzer Fights Wachovia Legal Dream Team in High-Court Test of State Power A lineup of legal heavyweights unusual even by Supreme Court standards is doing battle in a case pitting Wachovia Corp. (NASDAQ:WB) against Michigan banking regulators.