Stocks, already set for a snap-back rally, got the green light from this morning's durable goods data. Futures were a little lower than earlier.
At 9:19 a.m. EDT, the
S&P 500 futures
were up 1.6 points, just about 3 points above fair value and an indication of some buying sentiment for the early going. The
futures were 21.5 points higher, an indication of some buying pressure for large-cap tech stocks at the open.
The Treasury market was slipping quietly off of yesterday's gains, and the 10-year note was down 1/32 at 100 22/32 and yielding 6.402%.
At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the
announced that April
durable goods orders came in down 6.4%, the largest drop since December 1991, and way below the
consensus poll estimate of a 0.3% gain and the March figure of a 3.5% gain. April personal income and spending came in far above estimates at 0.7% and 0.6% gains, vs. consensus estimates of 0.6% and 0.3%.
"We may get a little bit of a rally today, but I'm not convinced it will hold," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at
"I think this is just a technical bounce due to the way the market closed yesterday. I can't see anything that will send this market either one way or the other," he added. "Even if they open up, they may tag off. The line of least resistance is still downward, and we're going to need some really good news or a substantial change in sentiment to get this market up again."
Whatever happens, we likely won't see much volume today. Many market players are exhausted after an volatile market week took indices through 100- and 200-point swings this week. Some will probably escape early to Memorial Day weekend getaways.
"People are pretty tired after this volatile week," said Volk.
This morning's economic data wasn't expected to change the
Fed's mind about whether or not this economy has really begun to simmer down, but investors were still watching. After a harrowing week, they were desperate for clues about what will happen at the June
Federal Open Market Committee
The market is still pretty much in the dark about when the Fed will quit its interest-rate raising game. Will
Greenspan be forced to yank the economy down into a hard landing with 100 more basis points, or will he be able to steer it into a soft landing with just 50 more?
Meanwhile, the market will probably be wary of the brokerages sector after negative analyst reports on brokerage
yesterday afternoon sent shares in the sector spinning and helped to take out the rest of the market. Goldman closed down 7, or 8.8%, to 73, while the
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
, which had been enjoying steady gains, closed off 15.4, or 3.6%, to 414.04. For more on this, see Eileen Kinsella's recent
The large European bourses
were hopping back up at midsession on strength in U.S. futures. The Paris
was up 20.28 to 6149.94, while Frankfurt's
was down 12.97 to 6965.90. Across the Channel, London's FTSE was up 10.0 to 6241.1.
The euro was trading up at $0.9131.
Asian markets continued to respond to U.S. market malaise, and most indices closed lower. Korea was particularly hard hit, sliding more than 6% on worries over the solvency of two members of the giant
closed down 42.87, or 6.13%, to 656.66.
In Hong Kong, the
index was also weighed down by continuing concerns over higher interest rates and a sluggish local real estate market. The benchmark index closed down 198.36, or 1.42%, to 13,722.70.
index, meanwhile, closed up 121.36 points, or 1.4%, to 8559.46.
In Tokyo, the
index was down 239.68, or 1.48%, to 16,008.14.
In currency trading, the dollar at first gained on the yen after Japan confirmed that its GDP data might have been more optimistic than they should have been. But then the dollar gave up those gains, and was recently trading around the same levels as Thursday, fetching 107.32.
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see
Stocks to Watch, published separately.