It is the last week of the last month of the last year of the millennium, and Wall Street is in a celebratory mood.
At 9 a.m. EDT, the
futures were up 3.5, nearly 8 above fair value and indicating a bounce at the open. Investors again expected tech stocks to drive the rally -- the
futures were up 26.
Wall Street will be wondering two things today: How far can this rally go without stopping and when will the market stop logging such impressive volume? Going into last week, investors expected both to fall off. The two are not unrelated -- the big trading in the
Nasdaq Stock Market
, relative to the
New York Stock Exchange
, suggests that it is the individual investor that is powering this move.
"That section of the investing community is getting bigger and bigger," said Paul Rich, a trader at
. "And on days when the institutional traders are off, their bias is felt much more."
There is little news to distract investors from gazing amazedly upon the rally this morning -- few research notes, very little company news. The bond market -- whose recent losses might have hurt stocks in other times -- was holding steady. The 30-year Treasury was off 2/32 to 95 5/32, dropping the yield to 6.495%. If the yield pops above 6.5%, it may be enough to make some stock investors a little nervous.
Japanese stocks gave back a bit of last week's high-tech inspired rally in low volume. The
slipped 38.05 to 18,546.90. Today was the last day of settlement before year-end, and the year change did prompt some position unwinding.
After the close,
announced a stock split, effective May 19 -- making investors who took profits in the high-flying issue today wish they hadn't.
"The stock split proves Sony, and investors, believe the company is on the right track," said one Tokyo trader. "There should be more firms like Sony emerging as traditional manufacturers and services start shifting operations into the Internet zone."
Hong Kong's stock market was closed.
European bourses were doing well heading into the continental midday.
Particularly in Frankfurt, where investors remain exuberant over the government's plan to eliminate taxes on stock sales between companies. The
was lately up 95.16, or 1.4%, to 6877.55. Banks, which have huge capital gains locked up in stocks, led the advancers.
was lately up 9%.
was up 19.08 to 5871.58.
was a big winner there, up on rumors that it had found a merger partner.
Some European insurers, however, were not participating in the rallies. Investors expect the windstorms that swept through France, Switzerland and Germany will take some heft off profits.
London's stock market was closed.
Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist
is preparing to launch a Web site called
, which will match up buyers and sellers of goods,
The Wall Street Journal
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
said income from
, of which it has a 41% interest, will be sliced by $39 million in the fourth quarter as a result of a $95 million pretax charge taken by Equistar.
each have a 29.5% interest in Equistar.
Credit Suisse First Boston
initiated coverage of
with a strong buy rating.
Thursday began a legal challenge to the
Federal Communications Commission's
to offer long-distance phone service in New York.
Prison Realty Trust's
board said an investor group will purchase $315 million in securities and commit to purchase an additional $35 million in securities in a newly formed company that would be created via the merger of Prison Realty and the companies operating under the name
Corrections Corporation of America