U.S. Futures Flying High

by: SA Editors

At 8:40 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: +6.00; 1,444.20
NASDAQ 100: +19.50; 1,845.00
Dow: +46.00; 12,555.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: +0.51%; 16,914.31 (+85.11)
HANG SENG: +1.01%; 19,110.65 (+191.25)
S&P/ASX 200: +0.04%; 5,575.40 (+2.30)
BSE SENSEX 30: +0.94%; 13,614.52 (+127.36)

FTSE 100: +0.28%; 6,245.20 (+17.20)
CAC 40: +0.51%; 5,537.59 (+28.01)
XETRA-DAX: +0.33%; 6,574.38 (+21.80)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: +0.58%; $62.87 (+$0.36)
Gold: +0.08%; $629.60 (+$0.50)
Natural Gas: -1.59%; $7.44 (-$0.12)
Silver: -0.32%; $13.905 (-$0.045)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Japan Tobacco to Buy Gallaher, Maker of Benson & Hedges, for $14.7 Billion Japan Tobacco Inc., the world's third-largest cigarette maker, agreed to buy Gallaher Group Plc (GLH) for 7.5 billion pounds ($14.7 billion) in the biggest international takeover by a Japanese company.

Bank of China Acquires 100 Percent of Singapore Aircraft for $965 Million Bank of China Ltd., the nation's second-biggest bank, said it will buy all shares of Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise for $965 million, the first major acquisition made by a state-owned Chinese bank.

Blackstone, Citigroup Plan $5 Billion India Fund to Invest in Ports, Roads Blackstone Group LP, manager of the world's biggest buyout fund, and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) are in talks with the Indian government to start a $5 billion fund that will invest in the nation's infrastructure projects.

Business Confidence in Japan Rises to Two-Year High; Spending to Increase Confidence among Japan's largest manufacturers rose to a two-year high in December, easing concern that growth in the world's second-largest economy is losing momentum.

Asian Stocks Advance, Led by Honda, Sony on U.S. Profits, Japan's Tankan Asian stocks rose for a fourth day, the longest rally in almost two months. Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. led gains after U.S. companies posted higher earnings, stoking speculation regional exports will keep growing.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Europe's Stoxx 50 Heads for Longest Winning Streak Since 1997; Fiat Gains European stocks rallied for a 10th day, with the Dow Jones Stoxx 50 Index headed for its longest winning streak in almost a decade, as investors bet takeovers and earnings growth will accelerate.

Clayton, KKR May Bid for Ahold's $6 Billion Foodservice Unit, People Say Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc. and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. may make a joint bid for Royal Ahold NV's (AHO) U.S. Foodservice unit, a division valued at as much as $6 billion.

TUI Shares Slide as Travel Company Scraps Dividend, Cuts Profit Forecast Shares of TUI AG, Europe's largest travel company, fell to the lowest in three months after the company scrapped its dividend and cut profit forecasts for its shipping and tourism units.

Telefonica Considers Selling O2's Airwave Unit, Hires JPMorgan Cazenove Telefonica SA, which has more debt than any other major European phone operator, said it may sell the Airwave O2 Ltd. unit of O2 Plc, Britain's largest mobile- phone company by customers.

EU Welcomes Romania, Bulgaria as Members, Slows Entry Talks With Turkey Romania and Bulgaria clinched membership in the European Union, as the EU set limits on further enlargement by putting the brakes on entry talks with Turkey.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

U.S. Consumer Prices, Core Inflation Rate Were Both Unchanged Last Month U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in November, the third month without an increase and evidence a slowing economy is helping rein in inflation.

Black & Decker Lowers Earnings Forecast for Quarter and Year as Sales Fall Black & Decker Corp. (BDK), the biggest U.S. maker of power tools, reduced its forecast for the fourth quarter and the full year because of a decline in sales.

Morgan Stanley's Mack Gets $40 Million Bonus, Record for Wall Street Head Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) gave Chief Executive Officer John Mack the biggest bonus for the head of a Wall Street firm, awarding him $40 million as the company headed for the best profit in its 71-year history.

Apple Computer Delays Filing Annual Report Until Options Review Completed Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the maker of iPod music players, delayed filing its financial statements and said it will restate earnings to account for backdated stock- option grants.