It looks like stocks are going to start the week on a tentative note.
At 9:05 a.m. EST, the
S&P 500 futures
were down 3.9. That's actually about 6 points above fair value and thus indicates that the broad big-cap market will see some program-buying early on. It's tough to say which way things will turn after the programs burn themselves out, though.
The more thinly traded
futures were pointing toward a mixed open for technology stocks. The Nazzdogs were lately down 6 points.
"I expect it's going to be a little bit on the quiet side in terms of volume," said Bill Meehan, chief market analyst at
. "But it looks like we just continue to mosey along to the upside."
Not a lot is happening today on the corporate front. In fact, you could say the early part of the session will be defined by what's not happening. It looks like
, despite reportedly offering concessions to the
that included a promise to unbundle the company's Internet browser from its Windows operating system, is not likely to settle its antitrust suit before Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issues his verdict tomorrow. The stock was trading at 109 on
from a close of 111 11/16.
At the same time, ministers from the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
, who are meeting today in Vienna, don't appear likely to agree to the sort of production increases that would foster a significant easing in the price of crude oil.
United Arab Emirates
Oil Minister Obeid bin Seif al-Nasseri said today that all 11 OPEC members support an increase of no more than 2 million barrels a day. Most observers believe the market needs an extra 2.5 million barrels a day to balance supply with demand.
The morning's dearth of corporate headlines is hardly a bad thing. In preannouncement season, no news is generally good news. Despite high-profile warnings from companies like
Procter & Gamble
Johnson & Johnson
, earnings estimates have not been undergoing much downward revision. Analysts' estimates for first-quarter
earnings stand at an impressive 18.5%, according to
First Call/Thomson Financial
The bond market was moving lower, with the 10-year note down 16/32 to 101 24/32 and yielding 6.259%.
The large European indices were mixed in afternoon trade. The Paris
was up 66.02, or 1%, to 6430.28, while Frankfurt's
was down 72.20, or 0.9%, to 7860.22. London's
was off 79.1, or 1.2%, to 6659.4.
The euro was trading at $0.9714.
soared overnight. In Tokyo, the
rose 322.95 points, or 1.6%, to 20,281.03.
soared 12% after
said it has signed a letter of intent to
take a 34% stake in the company for $1.95 billion.
The dollar came out of a listless Tokyo trading session at around 106.83 yen. It was lately sitting at 106.76 yen.
Stocks absolutely boomed in Hong Kong, where a short-covering spree in March index futures helped a rally in blue-chips and drove the
up 508.29, or 2.9%, to 18,292.86.
index shot up 324.93, or 3.4%, to 9801.57
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.