Intel's Good Earnings Have Stocks Looking Higher

Author:
Publish date:

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 98 cents per share, and nobody's going to kick sand in the market's face today.

The confluence of Intel's estimate-beating numbers

las t night and an apparent return to stability in Asia is putting a shine on Wall Street this morning. At 9 a.m. EST, the

S&P 500

futures are up 3.90, indicating a hop at the open. Traders expect the day to have a nice tone, but don't expect to see anything huge.

"It's not really anything to write home about," says one trader of Intel's numbers. "Another major company that at least didn't get crushed in the fourth quarter. It's still wait and see for another quarter at least."

And in the wake of Intel's not-so-bad quarter, woe betide the company with an earnings disappointment that is thinking of blaming Asia.

"If you're going to surprise on your earnings, that's the worst thing you can do right now," says the trader. "You get crushed because you should have done it already."

World markets are higher across the board.

In Japan, word of yet another economic stimulus plan helped boost the stock market. Tuesday,

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto

suggested that the 2 trillion yen income tax cut package may be extended into fiscal 1999. A senior

Liberal Democratic Party

official also said that the government would consider additional stimulus measures if "the cherry trees don't blossom satisfactorily" -- if the economy isn't on track by the beginning of April, that is.

The

Nikkei

climbed 366.04 to close at 15,121.98. The Japanese stock market will be closed tomorrow for Coming of Age Day.

With the pressure on Southeast Asian currencies and stock markets easing, Hong Kong stocks climbed sharply for the second day in a row. The

Hang Seng

rose 506.55, or 5.81%, to close at 9226.55. Interbank rates, which have been climbing in recent weeks on concern of renewed attacks on the Hong Kong dollar eased.

The good news out of Asia, and anticipation of a higher open in the U.S., is giving Europe a boost. In Frankfurt, the

Dax

closed up 30.68 at 4190.08. In London, the

FTSE

is up 44.60 at 5128.50.

Easing tensions in Asia and the lower dollar are putting some pressure on the Treasury market, though a weaker than expected December

retail sales

report has taken the long bond off its lows. It showed an increase of 0.7% in overall sales, in line with expectations, and a 0.2% increase excluding auto sales -- lower than the 0.5% gain economists expected. The 30-year Treasury is off 4/32 at 105 16/32, lifting the yield to 5.74%.

Starwood

(HOT)

announced that it is buying four privately-held full-service, luxury properties in Aspen, New York City, Washington D.C., and Houston in a cash and stock deal valued at $334 million.

Kimco

(KIM) - Get Report

announced that it is acquiring

The Price REIT

(RET)

in a stock deal valued at $535 million.

Fifth Third Bancorp

(FITB) - Get Report

announced that it is acquiring

CitiFed Bancorp

(CTZN)

in a stock deal valued at $688.2 million.

State Street

(STT) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 61 cents per share, a penny better than

First Call

estimates.

St. Paul Bancorp.

(SPBC)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 36 cents per share, in line with estimates.

Hibernia

(HIB)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents per share, a penny ahead of estimates.