Dell said it has received a $14.25 a share takeover offer from Blackstone and a $15 a share deal from Carl Icahn.
With the Fed's stimulus now tied to job market recovery, investors are more keenly awaiting nonfarm payrolls.
The Leucadia transaction could give the company the kind of capital it needs to embark on the final stage of that transformation from a second-tier trading firm into the latest generation of white-shoe investment bank.
Also, German economic sentiment drops.
Stocks are slightly lower amid light holiday trading volume.
The acquisition will help the struggling investment bank ride out the storms on Wall Street.
Investors really aren't sweating any legal trouble Apple faces, however.
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The auto parts giant beats Wall Street expectations, while continuing to expand its stores in the U.S. and Mexico.
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
MONEY & POLITICS
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
The IRS is struggling to combat identify thieves who file fraudulent tax returns in the names of older residents who don't need to file.