Market Unsure of Direction At Open - TheStreet

The market has not yet cut itself a path for today's open, and futures have spent the morning swinging narrowly between red and green.

The major indices are looking a little tougher after holding on to last week's spectacular gains in thin and quiet trading yesterday, particularly since most market observers were expecting profit-taking. But futures are dipping into the red this morning and the market will probably remain in a trading range ahead of economic data due out Thursday and Friday of this week.

At 9:11 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500 futures were down 1.5 points, just fractionally below fair value and not much of an indication for the early going. The

Nasdaq 100

futures were off 12.5 points, after swinging in a narrow range earlier this morning, an indication of some negative sentiment for large-cap tech stocks at the open.

"I see a kind of quiet market today," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at

D.A. Davidson

.

"We have some stats which don't mean a whole lot. We are pretty much in a holding pattern until people digest quarter earnings, the

Fed's

June meeting. While the markets are still prone to go up and down 200 points a day, we are locked in a trading range and volume should remain light," he added.

Meanwhile, Volk mentioned that DLJ's downgrade of the cable sector could take a bite out of some of these companies.

At 8:30 a.m. EDT,

first quarter productivity

came in unrevised at a 2.4% gain, in line with

Reuter's

consensus estimates, while unit labor costs were revised to a 1.6% gain from 1.8%, despite consensus estimates that they would remain unrevised. This weakness in labor costs is a sign that rises in the cost of labor are slowing.

Later today, the market will get some more data, with the

BTM Weekly U.S. retail store chain index

and the

Redbook retail average

due in at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. EDT respectively.

Last week, a slew of cool data convinced much of Wall Street that the Fed may be able to wrap up this rate-hiking business in the next few months. It's now a question of whether the Fed will hold off at its mid-June meeting and wait for more signs of a slowdown, or raise rates by a quarter to half a point.

Until these questions find answers, it's not clear how much more muscle stocks have on the upside. Some traders see resistance levels at around 11,000 for the

Dow

and 4000 for the

Nasdaq

. Both indices ended fractionally higher Monday, with the Dow up 20.54, or 0.2% to 10,815.30 and the Nasdaq up 8.38, or 0.2%, to 3821.76.

A couple of food companies will also give investors a bit to gnaw on today, as

Bestfoods'

(BFO) - Get Report

board met last night to discuss a new and improved $20 billion takeover offer from

Unilever

(UN) - Get Report

. The company is also interested in acquiring

Campbell Soup

(CPB) - Get Report

for $15 billion.

The Treasury market was slipping this morning after yields rallied to one-month lows yesterday, and the 10-year note was off 7/32 at 102 17/32, with yields at 6.147%.

The large

European bourses were mostly treading lower at midsession after waffling with little direction at the open, and even London had fallen off of earlier strength.

The Paris

CAC

was off 66.44, or 1.00%, to 6589.82, while Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was 67.30 lower, or 0.91%, to 7340.72.

Across the channel, London's

FTSE

was off 15.8, or 0.24%, to 6530.9.

The euro was trading up at $0.9566.

Many of the major

Asian markets were on holiday yesterday, including Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, while investors in Tokyo finally skimmed some profits off of four days of solid gains.

Tokyo's key

Nikkei

index closed down 31.71 to 17,170.08.

With the focus on the euro, the dollar lost ground against the yen and fetched 107.06 in Tokyo trading. It had continued to slip, lately at 106.75 yen.