A better-than-expected inflation reading is putting a firm tone on the stock market this morning.

The headline number for the June

consumer price index

-- the key inflation report -- came in unchanged, against expectations of a 0.1% increase. The core, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, gained 0.1%. It was forecast to gain 0.2%.

"Nice numbers," said Todd Clark, head of listed trading at

Charles Schwab

. After yesterday's digestive action in the bond market, the benign inflation report makes it look like Treasuries can break out of the range they've been in since June. "It's a decent backdrop for the equity market," said Clark, who sees little upside resistance to the market until we hit Monday's intraday highs.

Stock index futures Treasuries, hopped on the CPI report. At 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were up 5.3, better than 6 above fair value and indicating a good open. The 30-year Treasury was up 14/32 to 91 6/32, dropping the yield to 5.88%.

Tokyo's

Nikkei

rose on gains in global blue-chips and technology issues. Focus on those stocks is generally a footprint of foreign buying -- asset allocators are still putting new money to work in Japan. The index gained 74 to 18,431.86.

Hong Kong stocks bounced back, snapping a seven-day losing streak. The rebound was partly chart-driven -- the

Hang Seng

found strong support at the 13,500 level -- and was partly the result of rumors that troubled

Guangdong Enterprises

is close to coming to an agreement with its creditors. The Hang Seng rose 183.42, or 1.4%, to 13,758.89.

Yet worries persist in Hong Kong. Tensions between mainland China and Taiwan are still running high, and worries are growing that China is moving toward devaluing its currency early next year.

Europe's major markets were solidly higher. In Frankfurt, the

Xetra Dax

was up 55.93, or 1%, to 5666.82. In Paris, the

CAC

was up 82.33, or 1.8%, to 4666.88. And in London, the

FTSE

was up 94.5, or 1.5%, to 6567.6.

Thursday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Brian Louis

Staff Reporter

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

reported second-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share, in line with the

First Call

16-analyst estimate, down from the year-ago 48 cents. The beverage giant said results in part were impacted by a drop in gallon shipments and a stronger dollar. The year-ago period includes an aftertax gain of 3 cents and an aftertax provision of 2 cents related to the impairment of certain assets in its global manufacturing system.

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

reported second-quarter operating earnings of 56 cents a share, which excludes a gain, above the First Call 14-analyst estimate of 48 cents and up from the year-ago 26 cents.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates are from First Call.)

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

reported after the close a second-quarter loss of $1.10 a share, 16 cents narrower than the 16-analyst forecast but wider than the year-ago loss of 45 cents. The company also said its president and COO, Atiq Raza, resigned. Chairman and CEO W.J. Sanders will temporarily take on Raza's duties.

TheStreet.com

took a look at the resignation

yesterday.

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

posted earnings after the close of 69 cents a share, beating the 19-analyst estimate by a nickel and up from the year-ago 65 cents. The company also said it will buy back $500 million in stock.

Capital One Financial

(COF) - Get Report

reported second-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, in line with the 19-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 32 cents.

Hasbro

(HAS) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 10 cents and up from the year-ago 3 cents.

KeyCorp

(KEY) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, beating the 21-analyst estimate of 59 cents and up from the year-ago 56 cents.

Maytag

(MYG)

posted second-quarter earnings of 97 cents a share, in line with the nine-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 71 cents.

McGraw-Hill

(MHP)

posted second-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, beating the 10-analyst estimate by a penny and up from the year-ago 39 cents.

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

posted a second-quarter loss of $1.04 a share, which includes a gain of 23 cents. The 17-analyst estimate called for the company to post a loss of $1.35. Nextel also said it added about 440,000 domestic digital net subscribers during the second quarter.

Owens Corning

(OWC)

posted second-quarter earnings of $1.31 a share, 2 cents ahead of the 10-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago $1.02.

Unisys

(UIS) - Get Report

reported second-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share, beating the 11-analyst estimate of 33 cents and up from the year-ago 24 cents.

Miscellany

BP Amoco

(BPA)

plans to sell $10 billion of assets over the next three years and plans a 2-for-1 stock split.

In a move that suggests a narrowing of potential succession candidates for Chairman and CEO John F. Welch Jr.,

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

is expected to announce today that David L. Calhoun, who heads GE's lighting business, is being moved to the helm of

GE Capital's

biggest unit,

Employers Reinsurance

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

McKesson HBOC

(MCK) - Get Report

cut earnings from continuing operations for fiscal 1999 by $152.2 million, or 53 cents a share. For 1998, the company lowered earnings by $25.8 million, or 9 cents a share; for 1997, it lowered earnings by $13.5 million, or 5 cents a share. McKesson lowered its revenue for the past three fiscal years by a total of $327.4 million.

National Semiconductor

(NSM)

today will announce that it has put most of the functions of a PC on a single chip, the

Journal

reported.

Robert A. Daly, chairman and co-CEO of

Warner Bros.

and

Warner Music Group

, and Terry Semel, also a chairman and co-CEO of the aforementioned units of

Time Warner

(TWX)

, aren't going to -- here's a good one -- "pursue new employment contracts with Time Warner." Their contracts expire on Dec. 31.