Stocks will have their work cut out for them this morning to build on yesterday's rebound.
At 9:05 a.m. EDT, the
futures were down 4.4, a couple of points below fair value and indicating a negative bias to the open. The 30-year Treasury was up 7/32 to 101 23/32, putting its yield at 6%.
"The market's a little tired," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at
, who characterized yesterday's bounce as "pretty mediocre."
In the absence of any clear trend, stocks will be moving on company-specific news this morning. And leading the morning's corporate news headlines is
, which is buying West Coast brokerage
Hambrecht & Quist
for $50 a share. While it's not easy to say how the report will impact the endemically flagging financial sector, arbitrage has already wrought its work on H&Q, which closed yesterday at 41 1/16 but was lately indicated at 49 in premarket trading.
upside fourth-quarter report last night may give some support to the Internet sector this morning.
The market will have to find its way without the help of any major economic data. The key numbers for September start trickling in later this week with Thursday's
Chicago Purchasing Managers'
index and Friday's
National Association of Purchasing Management
"The market's kind of on hold," Volk said. "People are waiting to see what happens next week with the
Federal Open Market Committee
," which meets next Tuesday.
You wouldn't know that there's a Fed meeting next week from looking at the papers lately, however. The financial world's preoccupation with the rising yen has kept the Fed watch relatively muted this time around.
That should start to change soon. This morning, there are two stories gearing up for next week's meeting: one, a
Wall Street Journal
report boldly headlined "Fed Reserve Is Unlikely to Raise Interest Rates at Policy Meeting," which bases that conclusion nearly entirely on the dollar/yen trade; the other, a more tentative
The Washington Post's
of inflationary pressure and relative tightness of U.S. labor markets.
But, for now, it's back to the yen. In Tokyo, its relative weakness following the weekend
meeting, along with yesterday's strength on Wall Street, helped stocks put together a solid rebound from their late funk. The
advanced 504.64, or 3%, to 17,325.70 as the dollar moved above the 106-yen level.
The dollar was lately quoted at 106.53 yen.
The greenback's strength is coming despite waning hopes that the
Bank of Japan
will relax its monetary policy. The central bank again left the usual 1 trillion-yen surplus in the money market today. And no matter how eagerly
some may have seized upon his weekend comments about "improving money-market operations," BOJ Governor
today that "nothing has changed from what was announced last Tuesday," when the BOJ's policy committee rejected a quantitative policy easing.
The range-bound Hong Kong stock market went higher along with Tokyo. The benchmark
gained 84.47, or 0.7%, to 12,844.93.
The big European indices were trending lower at midsession. London's
was off 54.9, or 0.9%, to 6023.7, while the Paris
was down 47.17, or 1%, to 4549.43. Frankfurt's
was 97.87 lower, or 1.9%, to 5141.77.
Tuesday's Wake-Up Watchlist
Chase Manhattan Bank said it would buy Hambrecht & Quist for about $50 a share in cash, or more than $1.2 billion, confirming a report in
The Wall Street Journal
. Chase said it will set a $200 million fund to keep key members of Hambrecht & Quist staff.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures
said it entered a content agreement with
said it sold 182,492 shares in AOL, realizing $18.3 million.
signed a $770 million deal with Algerian state-owned oil and gas firm
to quadruple production from an Algerian oilfield.
amended their merger agreement to permit each company to explore all strategic alternatives.
is expected to announce an equipment purchase from merger partners
that could be valued at up to $1 billion, the
said. The paper said AT&T plans to buy up to 2 million more cable TV set-top boxes from General Instrument and 1 million cable modems from Motorola.
El Paso Energy
said it plans to divest some assets following its acquisition of
once it signs a consent decree with the
Federal Trade Commission
Offerings and Stock Actions
said it approved an additional $100 million for its share-buyback plan.
Warburg Dillon Read
to buy from strong buy.
started coverage of
with a buy rating.
to attractive from buy.
said its president and CEO, Gert Munthe, will resign by the end of the year, primarily for personal reasons.
said it would embark on a $939 million restructuring program to transform itself into an Internet-based firm.
unveiled a new network technology for the Internet which it said will avoid information traffic jams.
The Heard on the Street column in the
takes a bullish look at some wallflower stocks "so neglected they sell for irrational prices." Citing a few unusual parent-subsidiary pricings, the story points out, for instance, that
owns an 85% stake, worth about $720 million, in
. Still, IPC's stock market value is $483 million. Similar relationships mentioned in the story include,
85% stake in
84% stake in