Market Looking Firm This Morning - TheStreet

Stocks are set to make a move higher this morning.

That's not as odd as it might sound to those still awestruck by the eye-popping

rally the

Nasdaq Composite Index

put together yesterday. The broader market largely missed that party, and is now showing signs of edging higher with the help of some early program-buying. At 9:05 a.m. EST, the

S&P 500

futures were up 4.5, more than 5 points above fair value and indicating some strength in the early going.

Meanwhile, even on the heels of a 200-point rally, the

Nasdaq 100

futures aren't sagging. The Nazdogs were lately up 21.55 to 4209.05.

Ah, divergence. Yesterday's action was a vicious slap in the face to anyone daring to wonder if that trend was starting to wane. Yes, the Nasdaq may pull back from time to time, just as the Old Economy blue-chips may show signs of bouncing. But it seems that when the entry points look good to money managers, nothing can rally as quickly and violently as tech and biotech stocks.

The rest of the market will eat dust, or worse. Traders have been selling into each and every bit of strength shown in the financial, cyclical and basic materials sectors. After an absolutely atrocious January, things have gotten worse. This month has taken another 7.1% off the

Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index

, 12.6% off the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

and 11.8% off the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index

.

"A lot of these cyclical and down-and-out names were selling off on huge volume," said Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at

George K. Baum & Co.

in Kansas City, Mo. "Now they're trying to solidify, but there's not a whole lot of buying interest at these levels. That's indicative of an abandonment of these areas."

The broader trend notwithstanding, the previous session's feverish buying has left a lot of tech stocks with more than a little room to consolidate. After tacking on about 10% yesterday,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

was looking weaker on

Instinet

amid

news that China's government has postponed plans to build a mobile network using the company's CDMA technology. Qualcomm had last traded at 139, down from a close of 146 7/8.

The bond market was edging higher, with the 10-year Treasury up 9/32 to 100 27/32 and yielding 6.384%. The 30-year Treasury, meanwhile, was up 23/32 to 102 13/32, putting its yield at 6.074%. This morning's

durable goods orders

report was basically in line with estimates.

The large European indices were rallying in the early afternoon, paced by the Paris

CAC

, which was up 122.45, or 2%, to 6153.70. Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was up 80.57, or 1.1%, to 7779.54, while London's

FTSE

was up 48.8 to 6192.9.

The euro had fallen back below dollar parity, trading down at $0.9915.

Yesterday's Nasdaq rally invigorated Asian markets overnight.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

soared 681.87, or 4.2%, to 17,058.66, largely thanks to a hot upcoming offering from Web portal

tom.com

and unconfirmed talk that

Pacific Century Cyberworks

may have clinched a merger deal with

Cable & Wireless HKT

(HKT)

.

tom.com, whose IPO is said to be as much as 1,300 times oversubscribed, is jointly owned by Hang Seng components

Hutchison Whampoa

(HUWHY)

and

Cheung Kong

, which rose 4.2% and 2.5%, respectively. tom.com starts trading on March 1.

Things were much cooler in Tokyo, where the

Nikkei

managed to gain 51.89 to 19,571.44 as local fund managers picked up blue-chips for their newly created funds.

The dollar traded around 110.99 yen in Tokyo. It was lately sitting at 111.01 yen.

For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.