After two days of gains, the major indexes are little changed this morning as investors await the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee's June policy meeting this afternoon. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) are down 0.17% each as of 10:05 a.m. EDT.
The macro view: Fed day is here at last!
The time for tea leaves, chicken bones, and tarot cards is over. After all the hullabaloo, the FOMC's June policy meeting draws to a close today, and we'll soon have their statement and a press conference by the head honcho himself, Dr. Ben Bernanke.
None of the talking heads know what the outcome of the meeting will be; my best guess is that the Fed will try to appease the market by emphasizing the conditions that remain to be met before it can begin reducing the pace of its $85 billion monthly asset purchases. If it takes a more hawkish stance, expect some afternoon volatility.
The micro view: Icahn's zombie offer for Dell
Legendary activist investor Carl Icahn is proving to be a thorn in the side of Silver Lake Partners and Michael Dell as they seek to take Dell (UNKNOWN: DELL.DL ) public: Each time Dell's board rebuffs Icahn, he comes back with a new offer. This time, he is offering to pay $14 per share for 62% of the company.
Southeastern Asset Management, Dell's largest shareholder until Tuesday, appears to have thrown in the towel, agreeing to sell half its stake to Icahn (though it will nonetheless vote against the $13.65 per-share buyout from Silver Lake and Michael Dell on July 18). Southeastern had previously teamed up with Icahn on an alternative proposal.
Dell's board was not impressed, pointing out that this latest offer is not fully financed -- just like the two offers that preceded it. The zombies are always killed at the end of the movie, and I suspect Icahn's aspirations will share the same fate on July 18. The market thinks so, too: Excluding a spike yesterday, it's been two months since Dell's stock last traded above Silver Lake and Michael Dell's $13.65 per-share offer price. The duo are no heroes, but their deal will get done.
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