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Morning Business Brief

May 19, 2011, 7:12 AM

Morning Business Brief
Stocks staged solid gains in the latest session. The Dow rose 81 points to 12,560. The S&P was up 12, while the Nasdaq gained 32 points. Futures trading today has been essentially flat.
  • European stock markets pushed ahead today in early trading, helped by a Wall Street rally spurred by an upswing in commodity prices. But Japan's slide into recession after a devastating tsunami in March kept Asian gains in check.
  • Oil prices hovered below $100 a barrel today in Asia as traders eyed mixed signs about U.S. gasoline demand and a volatile dollar. Oil markets have been following the value of the dollar most days recently. Traders are struggling to gauge the strength of U.S. crude and gasoline demand heading into the summer driving season.
  • Weekly jobless claims are due from the Labor Department, along with a look at existing home sales from the realtors. Also this morning, the Conference Board releases the index of leading indicators.
  • Keep an eye on the IPO of social networking site LinkedIn today. Shares were priced last night at $45 a share, giving it a value of more than $4 billion.

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