It looks like the stock market is set to make another strong showing this morning.
At 9:05 a.m., the
futures were up 6.6 to 1443.2, more than 5 points above
fair value and indicating a positive open.
"It looks like we've got an upward bias," said
managing director of trading at
Brean Murray Foster Securities
. "But things can turn on a dime and usually do."
That's especially the case today, as the overlapping of some unrelated events could make this session subject to a bit more volatility than usual.
To begin with, there's today's
triple-witching, which marks the quarterly expiration of stock-option, index-option and index-futures contracts. That event alone can bring some wild swings into the market. But the matter is being compounded today by the rebalancing of both the
Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 indices, which will happen after the market closes, but which in the meantime will prompt a lot of traders to try to capitalize on the price fluctuations caused by index fund (and closet index fund) managers updating their portfolios.
"Some players will want to sit this one out," Coolidge said, "especially here at year-end and with people in wind-up mode. So the options and futures could dominate."
In keeping with its recent tendencies, tech looks ready to explode higher out of the gates again. The Nasdaq 100 futures were lately up 41 points to 3423, and the big tech stocks were getting bids across the board.
The bond market is picking up some ground after yesterday's deep losses, the 30-year Treasury was up 12/32 to 96 27/32, yielding 6.362%. The bonds had been treading water before getting a bit of a boost from this morning's data on
, which came in at 1.6 million in November, down 2.3% from a revised 1.637 million in October.
The big European bourses were moving higher in early afternoon trading. Frankfurt's
was up 38.79 to 6380.08, while the Paris
was 30.21 higher to 5570.37. London's
was up 36.5 to 6708.5.
The euro is generally holding yesterday's strength. It hovered around the $1.018 level overnight, and after briefly breaking higher when trading started in London, was lately sitting back at $1.0135.
Hong Kong stocks snapped back from two days of intense selling, the benchmark
rising 414.99, or 2.7%, to 15,986.35.
In Tokyo, the
fell 16.19 to 18,095.12, its fifth-straight day in the red. The currency market was quiet, the dollar bobbing around the 103-yen level as the
Bank of Japan's
policy board left its zero interest rate policy unchanged at its meeting today. The greenback was lately quoted at 103.24 yen.
Friday's Wake-Up Watchlist
Pharmacia & Upjohn
is in merger talks with
The Wall Street Journal
reported. Pharmacia and Monsanto are having serious talks about a merger of equals, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
said they called off their $7.3 billion merger because they were unable to resolve
Federal Trade Commission
concerns. Alza said it will take a fourth-quarter cancellation charge between $10 million and $15 million and now expects to report earnings in the range of 26 cents to 29 cents a share, well below the current seven-analyst estimate of 45 cents.
joint newsroom covered the prewedding divorce in a
said it has agreed to buy
in a stock deal valued at $64.8 million.
said they formed a gas-gathering, marketing venture. Duke said the new company would offer about 20% of its stock in an IPO in the first half of 2000.
said it has entered a distribution pact with
said their proposed merger would dilute earnings in the first two years. Charles Burdick, who would serve as the finance director for the merged group, said during a conference call that EBITDA would be diluted by roughly 12% in the first year before it becomes accretive in the third.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
(Earnings estimates are from
First Call/Thomson Financial
posted fourth-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share, crushing the 12-analyst estimate by 34 cents. For more on Adobe's earnings,
joint newsroom has the complete
posted third-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, in line with the 17-analyst estimate and up from the year ago 8 cents. Circuit City also said it tapped its president and COO, W. Alan McCollough to be its CEO.
posted second-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share, beating the 17-analyst estimate of 34 cents and the year-ago 28 cents, which excludes a restructuring charge. Nike said earnings rose more than 50%, and that it achieved quarterly revenue growth for the first time in two years. The company said it saw revenue grow in every region, but that its sales increase was largely fueled by growth outside the U.S. For more on the sneaker behemoth's earnings, check out
additional coverage from
warned it expects fourth-quarter earnings will fall "significantly below" below the consensus estimate of 48 cents a share. The three-analyst estimate calls for the diversified forest products company to earn 48 cents a share in the fourth quarter and $1.77 in fiscal 1999.
said same-store sales are currently 8% to 10% below its goal this month. The company did say that it sees double-digit sales gains for the fourth quarter and the year.
Offerings and stock actions
set a 2-for-1 stock split and said it tapped Richard Laporte as its next CEO.
priced 4 million shares of
at $16 each, above the estimated $12-to-$14 range.
said it set a spinoff of its Internet divisions. The company is seeking the
Internal Revenue Service's
approval to distribute the unit's shares as a dividend.
said it set a 2-for-1 stock split. The company posted fourth-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, beating the three-analyst estimate of 55 cents and the year-ago 43 cents.
3 million-share IPO was priced at $5 a share.
Credit Suisse First Boston
analyst David Nelson upgraded
to buy from hold.
First Boston upped its fiscal 2000 estimates on
to $1.60 a share from $1.55 a share.
said membership of its AOL service has surpassed 20 million.
plan to offer long-distance service in New York state could be awarded
Federal Communications Commission
approval as soon as next week, making it the first Baby Bell to enter the long-distance market, the
Food and Drug Administration
has ended its restrictions on the company's European-made
product line. The company said that shipments would begin again in the first quarter of 2000.
Modis Professional Services
said its board gave the company permission to create two publicly traded companies: information technology and professional services. The board also authorized management to continue to look at strategic alternatives, including an IPO, for the company's e-business unit which is included in the information technology division.
said it was awarded a $1.3 billion United Kingdom defense contract for a radar system.
This week's "Inside Wall Street" column in
, penned as usual by Gene Marcial, offers up a positive piece on
. The column cites money manager Geoffrey Nixon of
, which holds a 6% stake in Silverleaf, who says the stock is worth 27 based on 15 times estimated earnings per share of $1.80 a share in 2000.
The column also offers up positive pieces on