Backed by Qualcomm, Stocks' Uptrend Looks Intact

The futures are lately indicating a positive open, as Qualcomm explodes higher on Instinet.
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Up 71 1/16 to 730.

That's where

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

was lately trading on

Instinet

, one day after surging 31% on a 1,000

price target set by

PaineWebber

. And that's as good a sign as any that investors aren't ready to lay off the all-you-can-swallow holiday tech buffet this morning.

"It's an amazing story," said Bob Basel, director of listed trading at

Salomon Smith Barney

.

The stock futures were telling the same story. At 9:05 a.m. EST, the

S&P 500

futures were up 5.2 to 1487.4, more than 6 points above fair value and indicating yet another strong open for stocks.

"There's an extreme absence of players in general, but there's definitely an absence of sellers," Basel said. "If you were going to sell, you definitely would have wrapped it up before Christmas."

The bonds were drifting after yesterday's modest gains. The 30-year Treasury was off 3/32 to 95 22/32, putting its yield at 6.44%. No major data are forthcoming, though the

Labor Department

has released its figures on

initial jobless claims

, which fell to 274,000 in the week ended Dec. 25 from the prior week's revised 284,250.

A quick glance across the pond shows the major European indices extending their own record-setting trends into the next millennium. London's

FTSE

closed its shortened session up 94.3, or 1.4%, to a record 6930.2, while Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

gained 98.56, or 1.4%, to 6958.14. In afternoon trading, and amid news that French unemployment fell to a seven-year low of 10.8% in November, the Paris

CAC

was up 75.39, or 1.3%, to 5913.14.

The euro edged slightly lower against the dollar overnight. It was lately quoted at $1.0045.

The big Asian markets also boomed higher to cap their yearlong recovery rallies.

In a truncated session in Tokyo, the

Nikkei

rose 123.76, or 0.7%, to end the year at 18,934.34. That puts the index up 36.8% for the past 12 months. The dollar was little changed against the yen, hanging near the 102 level overnight, and lately sitting at 102.16 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

couldn't finish 1999 above the 17,000 level, despite impressive strength. It surged 301.28, or 1.8%, to 16,962.10 -- a

Nasdaq

-like 68.8% higher for the year.

Thursday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Tara Murphy

Staff Reporter

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates are from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings are reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.)

Boyds Collection

(FOB)

warned investors that it expects to post fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 25 to 26 cents a share, missing the two-analyst estimate of 30 cents. The company also said it sees fiscal 1999 pro forma earnings of $1.06 to $1.07 a share, which would also miss the two-analyst estimate of $1.10.

CompUSA

(CPU)

said after yesterday's close that second-quarter net sales fell 21% to $1.38 billion from $1.75 billion, while same-store sales fell 1.8% from a year ago. The company said a less promotional approach to selling computers hurt sales for the quarter ended Dec. 25, though profit margins set a new high of 16% as the company broadened its product assortment beyond personal computers. CompUSA said it plans to announce second-quarter operating results Feb. 2.

Offerings and stock actions

In premarket activity,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

was soaring up to 730 from yesterday's closing price of 659. Yesterday,

PaineWebber

rolled out

coverage of the stock with a buy rating and a price target of 1,000.

Analyst actions

ABN Amro

said it initiated coverage of

Cordant Technologies

(CDD)

with an outperform rating.

Prudential Securities

initiated coverage of

Delco Remy

(RMY)

with an accumulate rating and a price target of 10.

Lehman Brothers

rolled out coverage of

Triton PCS

(TPCS)

with an outperformer rating and a 2001 price target of 51.

Miscellany

AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

has brought a lawsuit against

Ace's

(ACL)

INA

insurance division, pushing the Ace unit to acknowledge certain pollution claims that were moved into a separate company,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

A federal judge put a temporary restraining order on some

AMR's

(AMR)

American Airlines

unit maintenance employees who took part in a "work slowdown" that stalled operations. The disagreement involved pay premiums to nonmanagement workers who need to be away from their "home base" during the New Year's weekend.

Fruit of the Loom

(FTL)

said after yesterday's close that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which makes

BVD

, Fruit of the Loom and

Gitano

products, has struggled with manufacturing and inventory problems. In the first half of the year, shipping difficulties hurt sales and profits.

Mylan Laboratories

(MYL) - Get Report

said the

Food and Drug Administration

has given its approval to Mylan's generic form of

Glaxo Wellcome's

(GLX)

drug

Imuran

, which stops rejection after kidney transplants.

An

Old Republic

(ORI) - Get Report

subsidiary is facing a federal lawsuit claiming that it offered some mortgage lenders rewards in exchange for their business. The suit, which asks for class-action status, alleges that

Republic Mortgage

gave pool insurance and other perks to mortgage lenders at below-market rates for their business.