Investors are hoping the stock market improves today after a dismal performance on Friday. All the major stock indexes all fell after a lackluster March jobs report. The Dow dropped nearly 41 points. The S&P 500 lost nearly 7 points and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 21 points. Wall Street appears headed for gains this morning based on futures trading.
- Asian stock markets were mixed today amid concerns about tensions on the Korean Peninsula and bird flu in China, but European stocks rose as traders looked ahead to corporate earnings season in the U.S. The Nikkei in Tokyo, meanwhile, piled on more gains as the yen's dramatic fall boosted the country's powerhouse export sector. Benchmark crude oil rose above $93 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but gained against the yen.
- Alcoa kicks off another earnings season when it reports first-quarter results after the markets close today. Analysts are expecting the big New York-based aluminum manufacturer to say that first-quarter earnings per share were down a bit from last year. From cars and planes to soda cans, aluminum is everywhere, making Alcoa an economic bellwether.
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is traveling in the eurozone where he's expected to urge the European Union officials to promote more growth-friendly policies to counter the debt crisis that has engulfed the 27-nation bloc. It's Lew's first official visit to the region.
- The passenger cabin is getting more cramped and the average flier is getting grumpier about it. That's the conclusion of an annual report by private researchers who have analyzed federal data on airline performance. Carriers keep shrinking the size of seats in order to stuff more people into planes. And there's more overbooking than there used to be.