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Wall Street Poised For Early Profit Taking - U.S. Commentary

4/30/2012 8:49 AM ET

Stocks are poised for a mild decline at the start of Monday's session, giving back some of the gains seen last week.

The economy is in focus, with the release of new figures on personal income and spending. In corporate news, Barnes & Noble is in the spotlight after signing a new partnership agreement with Microsoft. There are some earnings reports as well, with results out from NYSE Euronext and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Stocks moved mostly higher on Friday, although buying interest was relatively subdued. The markets benefited from some upbeat earnings news as well as a better-than-expected reading on consumer sentiment. The Dow advanced nearly 24 points on the day. For the week, the index climbed 1.5 percent.

U.S. workers took home more pay in March but growth in consumer spending slowed somewhat, according to figures released Monday by the Commerce Department.

The latest figures put U.S. personal incomes up 0.4 percent in March. Spending advanced by 0.3 percent.

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble (BKS) has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft (MSFT). The two companies will form a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary that will include its Nook digital business and its college unit. Microsoft will make a $300 million investment in the venture.

NYSE Euronext revealed disappointing results for the first three months of the year. The financial exchange operator said net profit plunged 44 percent to $87 million. Weak trading volume, particularly in the derivatives market, hurt results. The company was also hit by charges related to the termination of a proposed merger.

Earnings were higher at Anheuser-Busch InBev. The brewer said earnings climbed 75 percent to $1.69 billion. The company was helped by higher revenue and lower finance costs. Volumes rose 1.8 percent for the first quarter, with a strong performance in Latin America.

Merck (MRK) has won the latest round in its patent suit against Mylan. A U.S. court has ruled that a patent for drug maker's Zetia and Vytorin cholesterol drugs is valid.

Spain continues to face economic trouble. New data released last week showed that the country's unemployment rate is sitting above 24 percent - reaching its highest level in nearly two decades. Meanwhile, the Bank of Spain estimates that the country returned to recession in the first quarter.

As a result of the economic news, rating agency S&P is downgrading its opinion on 16 Spanish banks.

Asian stocks finished the day mostly higher. Japan and China were closed for the day, but Hong Kong rose 1.7 percent and South Korea advanced about a third of a percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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