It looks like stocks are setting up for a mixed open.
At 9:10 a.m. EST, the
S&P 500 futures
were down 1.1, about 2 points below fair value and indicating some modest weakness for the broad, big-cap market.
"It's exhaustion, to be honest," said Rob Cohen, co-head of listed trading at
Credit Suisse First Boston
. "Yesterday's activity was all over the map, so it's hard to draw a clear consensus this morning. And there's not too much overnight news to grasp onto."
Technology looks stronger than the overall market, with the Nasdaq 100 futures up 27.5 points. Still, one of the surest ways to make money lately in tech has been to bet against the market's opening indication. For weeks, much more often than not, if you'd bought the
futures pointed lower, or sold it when they pointed higher, you'd have cleared a pretty penny by midday.
"We've had a nice comeback in the Nasdaq," said Cohen. "It may have run its course for the short term, but I still think the trend is better there."
The steady advance in the bond market and financial stocks suggests that the market is not as hamstrung by interest-rate worries as it had been earlier in the year. Forget about whether or not that seeming unconcern is justified. It has left the market free to focus on the earnings outlook, which has been shaping up much better than many had feared after
Procter & Gamble's
warning. Preannouncements have not, it turns out, been rampant. Meanwhile, upside surprises have been particularly intense, most notably among the major brokerages.
So one could argue that what's been going on in stocks for the past two weeks is a general pricing in of strong first-quarter earnings season. Last night's
expects to report its first profit in late April will help bolster the market's sentiment on earnings further.
On the other hand,
Johnson & Johnson
may be putting some downward pressure on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
downgraded the stock this morning after the company said last night that 2000 sales of its heartburn drug Propulsid would decline from the previous year, and that it would stop marketing the drug in the U.S.
has reported that combination talks between
have resumed. The report was sending eBay higher on
, where it had lately traded at 232, up from a close of 223 9/16. Yahoo! was trading at 192 9/16, up from a close of 191.
The bond market was edging lower, with the 10-year note down 11/32 to 102 22/32 and yielding 6.132%.
Durable goods orders
came out weaker than expected, but the bonds weren't able to get a boost from the data.
The large European indices were soaring in afternoon trade, paced by Frankfurt's
, which was up 156.85, or 2%, to 7851.63, and London's
, up 143.0, or 2.2%, to 6737.6. The Paris
was up 41.15 to 6309.46.
The euro was trading at $0.9690.
Asian markets moved higher overnight on the heels of yesterday's strength on Wall Street.
In Japan, a blue-chip rally took the
up 253.48 points, or 1.3%, to 19,958.08. Investors were picking up pharmaceutical, auto and steel stocks and shedding large tech and telecom shares.
The dollar inched higher against the yen in Tokyo trading, to around 107.40 yen. Japanese exporters, who often sell the dollar when it rises against the yen to lock in profits, were capping the upside for the dollar, according to dealers. The greenback was lately trading at 106.97 yen.
climbed 73.99 to 17,784.57.
index fell 51.23 to 9482.64, while Korea's
index climbed 21.62, or 2.5%, to 889.24.
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.