Some late softness in the futures market has taken some of the shine off the early outlook for stocks.
At 9:05 a.m. EST, the
futures were down 3 to 1412.80. Since the futures closed about 4.5 points under fair value yesterday, that indicates a mixed-to-higher opening.
If, like virtually no one else watching Wall Street, you're looking at stocks outside the technology sector, you've been seeing the market struggle lately. The S&P 500, a relatively broad measure of large-cap stocks, has been encountering significant resistance since it punctured the 1400 level more than two weeks ago. Yesterday's 1% drop was its second straight session of consolidation this week.
But it's hard to focus on that with the
Nasdaq Composite Index
up 31.3% since Oct. 15 and 63.6% on the year. Tech's outperformance has been so exceptional that it's starting to reject even the most ebullient superlatives.
"I think the Dow's got a little more profit-taking to do," said Jim Benning, trader at
. "The Nasdaq ought to be doing some profit-taking, but they're setting new records every day over there."
Part of the late selling in stock futures had to do with the bond market, which was drifting lower. The 30-year Treasury was down 13/32 to 98 18/32, putting its yield at 6.231%. No major economic data are due out today, though the
will release its Beige Book report on the country's economic conditions at 2 p.m.
Oil prices were tumbling after the weekly
American Petroleum Institute
report showed an unexpected 8.7 million-barrel jump in stocks of gasoline. Crude oil for January delivery was lately down 57 cents to $25.65 a barrel.
Across the pond, the large European bourses were all deep in the tank in early afternoon trading. London's
was down 42.0, or 0.6%, to 6618.9, while the Paris
was off 42.61, or 0.8%, to 5491.90. Frankfurt's
was 87.75 lower, or 1.4%, to 6071.02.
The euro continues to hold onto Monday's gains, hanging close to the $1.0252 level through overnight trading, and lately sitting at $1.0241.
In Tokyo, the
sank 192.76, or 1%, to 18,401.2
The yen traded in another narrow range against the dollar overnight. Dollar/yen firmed from 102.5 to as high as 102.92. It continued that advance this morning, and was lately quoted at 103.01. Tokyo's currency market has been relatively quiet this week ahead of the
, the quarterly survey of business sentiment the
Bank of Japan
will release on Monday.
consolidated for the second consecutive session, falling 83.71, or 0.5%, to 15,989.38.
Wednesday's Wake-Up Watchlist
announced a strategic pact "to develop and market end-to-end solutions for the wireless Internet." The companies will form a joint company -- of which Ericsson will own a majority stake -- to market and deliver mobile email solutions for network operators.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Sprint PCS Group
said they are offering online shopping at Amazon from Internet-ready Sprint PCS phones.
agreed to form a joint venture called
, which they said will provide services for in part defined-contribution, pension and health and welfare plans.
said it planned to sell its entire cable and fiber-optic business to
for about $1.4 billion. Siemens said it would transfer business activities, including 3,300 employees, to Corning on Feb. 2, 2000.
set a pact with
, an Internet service provider, to deliver an Internet appliance that will allow consumers to access the Internet without a computer. Customers using the Ravisent product will use their TV screens to surf the Net, read and send email, among other things. Under the terms of the deal, Ravisent will offer its Internet TV appliance at a "subsidized, competitive price" to those who subscribe to two years of MindSpring's service.
said it entered into a three-year agreement with
in which Telescan will add its stock-screening and portfolio analysis tools to AOL's Personal Finance channel.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
(Earnings estimates are from
First Call/Thomson Financial
reported second-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, beating the four-analyst estimate of 15 cents and the year-ago loss of 1 cent.
Warburg Dillon Read
initiated coverage of Korn/Ferry with a buy rating and set a price target of 31.
New York Times
said it was comfortable with current consensus earnings estimates. The 12-analyst estimate for 1999 calls for earnings of $1.72 a share.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
cut its rating on
AK Steel Holding
to buy from strong buy.
Warburg started coverage of
with a buy rating and set a price target of 16.
Henry Blodget initiated coverage of
with an intermediate-term buy rating and put a 200 price objective on the stock. There's also a long-term buy rating on Exodus shares, which closed yesterday at 144 1/2.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown cut its rating on
to market perform from buy.
Warburg initiated coverage of
with a buy rating and set a price target of 75 on the stock.
Offerings and stock actions
4 million-share IPO was priced top-range at $18 a share.
said its board approved a $2 billion increase in its share-buyback plan.
priced 7.25 million shares of
at $25 a share, the top of the estimated $23-to-$25 range. The company is an Austin, Texas-based cable operator focused on nonmetropolitan U.S. markets.
board approved a 2-for-1 stock split.
board approved a 3-for-2 stock split.
said that it has tapped COO Kevin Sharer to replace the retiring Gordon Binder as CEO in May. Binder also plans to leave his role as the company's chairman.
is expected to release results today of an experimental cholesterol-lowering agent that it believes will be more potent than
The Wall Street Journal
has won a $1.98 billion U.S. defense contract to contribute to a jet-engine improvement program for certain
planes through 2014. The program, which will be launched in January, will include power plants for F-16 fighters and A-10 attack jets, B-1 and B-2 bombers, KC-135 refueling tankers, C-5 cargo planes and T-38 trainers.
The Heard on the Street column in the
takes a look at
efforts to maintain its large online brokerage market share in the face of increasing competition from cheaper dot-coms as well as more traditional rivals such as
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter