Stocks, Bonds Showing Little Spunk

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So how are things?

"Things are beautiful," says one trader. "The weather's cooling. It's going to be a nice fall. Stocks are going up. We're all going to get rich."

Ask a stupid question.

But when it comes to this morning, stocks don't look very motivated -- yesterday's finish and the weakness overnight in Asia are not the stuff of inspiration. With little news and what looks like a mixed to sloppy opening, it will be another volatile day, according to Larry Wachtel at

Prudential Securities

.

"It will probably swing 200 points today," he says.

As of 9:00 a.m. (EDT), the

S&P 500

futures are down 1.00, putting them below fair value and indicating a soft open. The 30-year Treasury bond is flat at 97, leaving the yield at 6.60%.

Morgan Stanley

cut its rating on

Seagate

(SEG)

to neutral from outperform.

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell

cut its rating on

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

from accumulate to hold on the chipmaker's warning last night that it would show "a small operating loss" in its third quarter.

First Call

consensus estimates had been for the company to earn 31 cents per share.

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

is meeting with analysts today. Will it warn of a shortfall,

a la

Gateway

(GTW)

? With

CNBC

technology correspondent Bruce Francis invited to tag along, that doesn't seem bloody likely.

The New York Times

reports that

Limited

(LTD)

is close to either selling or spinning off some of its operations.

H&R Block

(HRB) - Get Report

is close to shedding its 80% stake in

Compuserve

(CSRV)

, according to

The Wall Street Journal

. This time around, the likely buyer is said to be leveraged-buyout firm

Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe

.

British Airways

(

(BTY)

BTY ADR) union troubles may not be over.

The Times of London

reports that negotiations with the cabin crew's union have hit a rough patch. Some fear that the talks are about to collapse.

Japanese stocks dropped on profit taking. The

Nikkei

fell 120.11 to close at 18,615.06.

It must be a lovely trader's market. But for other investors it's a bit like having six hot dogs, washing them down with warm Coke, and taking a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl. After yesterday's sharp gains, Hong Kong stocks had a sharp decline. The

Hang Seng

closed down 514.82 at 14,199.17.

German stocks headed lower on the back of Wall Street's waffling and Asia's fall. A weaker dollar also took its toll. The

Dax

closed at 4071.68, down 31.97.

British stocks are down, but off their early lows.

"Europe opened down partly because of the tigers, plus the movement in the dollar," says David Smith, managing director of

Cantor Fitzgerald's

London offices. Since then, stocks have been tracking the dollar through the day.

"It still seems to be a trader type of market," says Smith. "With the institutions still not very active, it really depends on how the traders are playing it."

The

FTSE

is down 6.60 at 4970.30.

This story originally published on Sept. 4.