It looks like stocks are going to make a run higher in the early going.

At 9:05 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500 futures

were up 6.5, about 9 points above fair value and indicating some good buying pressure for the broad, big-cap market. The outlook for technology stocks is also strong, with the

Nasdaq 100

up 62 points.

"Yeah, we're looking a tad to the upside," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at

IJL Wachovia


It's no accident that the extreme anxiety the market's seen lately has come in a period very light on corporate news and economic data. Bulls are hoping that next week's earnings will get the market back on track and trading off what's generally expected to be very good news. At the very least, we'll finally get an answer to the nagging question of whether first-quarter earnings are already priced in stocks.

"Once you get some information out into the marketplace -- and that's starting with Yahoo! this morning -- then you've got knowledge and can start making decisions," said Myers. "Soon we'll be swinging battle-axes at each other again."

Unfortunately, the cool reaction to the strong quarter that



reported last night doesn't tell us much beyond the fact that investors continue to love selling off Yahoo! after it reports. More telling, perhaps, is the fact that Yahoo! didn't get it's characteristic pre-earnings run-up. Valuation concerns lately have taken a particularly harsh toll on dot-com stocks, including the Internet bellwethers.

Yahoo! was lately well off its lows on


, trading at 164 from a close of 165 9/16.

In the meantime, the way retailers trade off the number of

same-store-sales reports coming in should help investors get back in the practice of reacting symmetrically to good or bad news.

Pier 1 Imports

(PIR) - Get Report




are out with strong numbers. But


(GPS) - Get Report

is feeling some pressure after saying last night that March same-store sales fell by 11% and that COO John Wilson had resigned.

Gap had last traded at 43 1/2, down from a New York close of 49 1/2.

Yesterday's biotechnology comeback could find some new legs in news that

Celera Genomics


has completed the sequencing phase of one person's genome. The stock was changing hands on Instinet at 142, up from a close of 115.

The bond market was giving back some of its recent advances ahead of tomorrow's

jobs report

, with the 10-year note off 18/32 to 104 3/32 and yielding 5.944%. News that weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 1973 was hurting sentiment some.

European stocks were finding buyers in afternoon trade, particularly on the Continent, where the Paris


was up 153.23, or 2.5%, to 6190.17. Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was 80.69 higher, or 1.1%, to 7411.46.

Gains in London were more modest in the wake of yesterday's

truncated session. The


was up 10.9 to 6390.2.

The euro was sitting quietly at $0.9608.

Asian markets had mixed responses to the


modest overnight rise.

Relieved investors in Hong Kong stepped back into the market, sending the

Hang Seng

up 172.95 points, or 1.1%, to 16,491.39. That's the first rise that index has seen in six days.

Japan, however, still hasn't recovered from Tuesday's Nasdaq scare. Tokyo fund managers continued to shed major Japanese technology stocks, pushing the


down 239.16 points, or 1.2%, to 20,223.61. The tech-heavier


sank 2.38, or 2.5%, to 93.96,

The dollar eased slightly to around 104.83 yen in Tokyo trading, and was lately sitting at 104.94.

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