The stock market logged its longest winning streak in six months. On Monday the S&P 500 rose 7.04 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,871.89. The index has risen five straight days, its longest streak of gains since October. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 40.71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,449.25. And the Nasdaq composite gained 26.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,121.55. Futures point to a lower opening this morning.
- International stock markets fluctuated today as a Wall Street rally powered by positive earnings reports offset investor cautiousness before a report on Chinese manufacturing and possible sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Asian markets were lower while European exchanges gained in early trading. Benchmark crude oil fell but remained above $104 a barrel. The dollar fell against the yen and the euro.
- We'll get some data on the housing market this morning, when the National Association of Realtors releases its numbers on existing home sales for March. And there will be a full plate of earnings reports from Comcast, Harley-Davidson and McDonald's before the bell. This afternoon, after the market closes, AT&T, Amgen, Discover Financial and Yum Brands provide their numbers.
- Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG announced a series of multibillion-dollar deals today that it said would reduce sales but boost profitability, while affecting some 15,000 of its employees. Novartis has agreed to buy GlaxoSmithKline plc's cancer-drug business for $14.5 billion, plus up to $1.5 billion more if certain milestones are met, and to divest most of its vaccines business to GSK for $7.1 billion, plus royalties. The two drugmakers also are creating a new consumer health care business. Separately, Novartis said it will sell off its animal health division to U.S.-based Eli Lilly & Co. for about $5.4 billion.