It looks like it's touch and go for stocks this morning.
At 9:05 a.m. EST, the
futures were down 0.9, about a point below fair value and indicating no clear trend for the open. So we won't be seeing an immediate consolidation after the furious comeback rally the market put together
It's well known that there is room to consolidate, though. A quick review of a few indices will give you a pretty good idea of what the market's done since Oct. 15: the
Nasdaq Composite Index
, up 17.9%; the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, 7.5%; the S&P 500, 11.9%; the
, 8.4%; the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
, a whopping 28%; the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange KBW/Bank Index
, a not inconsiderable 25%.
With that kind of performance behind us, and tomorrow bringing a
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting whose results are still
extremely uncertain , a mixed-to-lower day wouldn't be at all unexpected.
Still, that sort of logic hasn't made anyone much money in the past few weeks. The tech momentum train just may be moving too fast for many investors to get off. Tech was getting bids lately, with
, the poster stock of upside momentum, up another 14 1/16 to 392 in premarket trading.
"There's still a decent tone in the markets," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at
. "I hear what people are saying about valuations on Internet companies, about semiconductor stocks, but the market continues to show resilience."
No major economic data are scheduled for today, and the bond market wasn't making any dramatic moves lately. The 30-year Treasury was down 4/32 to 101 2/32, putting the yield at 6.047%. Fed watchers are stepping out of their sensory deprivation tanks right now as
speaks on the topic of banking supervision before the American Council of Life Insurance in Washington.
The market will be digesting a smattering of U.S. merger news this morning.
has set plans to buy privately held open source software maker
for $674 million of its richly valued stock. Yesterday,
said it will buy
for about $1.8 billion in stock.
Also yesterday the
Federal Communications Commission
both said that they had yet to take a position on
planned $115 billion acquisition of
, shedding no light on a report in
The Washington Post
this weekend that Justice is unlikely to sign off on the deal.
But the big news this morning is coming out of Beijing, where a late agreement with the U.S. Trade Representative
has resuscitated China's 13-year-old bid to join the
World Trade Organization
. Under the deal, which came after 6 days of agonizing negotiations, China agreed to cut its average import tariffs to 17% from 22.1% and make some of its markets more open to American companies. Specifically, China will permit foreign firms to own 49% stakes in Sino-foreign telecommunications ventures.
China's not in like Flynn yet, though. It still needs to ink a deal with the
before the WTO starts its global trade liberalization talks in Seattle on Nov. 30.
Hong Kong stocks surged ahead of the deal's announcement, the
rising 372.55, or 2.6%, to 14,562.22. Well-founded optimism over China's WTO bid and word of a possible deal between Hang Seng constituent
were driving the buying.
Equities were flat in Tokyo. The benchmark
lost 60.46, or 0.3%, to 18,198.09. The yen firmed modestly against the dollar despite news that Japan's closely watched measure of money supply -- M2 plus certificates of deposit -- grew a somewhat larger-than-expected 3.6% on a year-over-year basis in October. The dollar fell from the 105.3-yen level to below 104.7 yen overnight. The greenback was lately quoted at 104.85 yen.
The large European markets were moving higher in early afternoon trading amid the news that
rejected a $107 billion all-stock takeover offer from
, a move that could spur a hostile bid by the U.K. mobile-phone firm. A 6% surge in Mannesmann was helping Frankfurt's
add 27.76 to 5818.81. London's
was up 27.8 to 6539.4 despite selling in index heavyweight Vodafone.
In Paris, the
was up 10.93 to 5152.44.
The euro continues to test support at the $1.03 level, lately quoted at $1.0305.
Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Air Express International
said it would be bought by European parcel giant
in a deal valued at $1.14 billion. The transaction calls for Deutsche Post to combine Air Express into its
freight forwarding division.
said yesterday that it is acquiring
in a stock deal valued at $1.8 billion. Under terms of the deal, Corning will swap 0.83 of a share of its stock for each of Oak's shares. The deal, which signifies a 51% premium over Oak's 49 3/4 closing price Friday, will enable Corning to offer both components and modules for optical communications.
is merging with the specialist asset valuation business (FTAM) of the
group, which is part of
. Under the deal, the FT group will transfer ownership of FTAM to Data Broadcasting in exchange for a 60% stake in the combined business. Data Broadcasting owns about 32% of
, which operates
, a competitor of
. Under the deal,
, will form an international and domestic marketing alliance.
owns a third of MarketWatch.
said it has inked a deal with
. The two companies said that they would roll out test-marketing for a "name-your-own-price online" buying feature for Ford Motors in Florida this week.
said it plans to buy
for $647 million. Red Hat also said it tapped Matthew Szulik as its new president and CEO.
, along with three venture capital firms, are forming a new online investment bank. The venture capital firms are
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
announced plans to sell its
in a cash transaction valued at $625.
all-stock $107 billion bid for
was rejected. Mannesmann called the offer "extremely unattractive" monetarily, stirring up rumors that Vodafone will launch the largest hostile takeover bid in history in an effort to gain control of Mannesmann. Industry sources told
that Mannesmann plans to explain to its shareholders today and Tuesday why it refused the offer.
, which has agreed to merge with
American Home Products
, is considering terminating its
, which has made an unsolicited takeover bid for Warner. Pfizer and Warner have a co-marketing deal for Lipitor, the blockbuster cholesterol-fighting drug.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
(Earnings estimates are from First Call/Thomson Financial.)
posted third-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, beating the
First Call/Thomson Financial
20-analyst estimate of 42 cents a share and up from the year-ago 33 cents a share.
posted a third-quarter loss of 41 cents a share, wider than the three-analyst estimate of a 27-cent loss and the year-ago 37-cent loss.
Credit Suisse First Boston
started coverage of
with a buy rating and a price target of 40.
started coverage of
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
with near-term accumulate and long-term buy ratings.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
rolled out coverage of the stock with an outperform rating.
Warburg Dillon Read
initiated coverage of
with a buy rating.
Merrill reinstated coverage of
with a buy rating and named it a Focus 1 selection.
upped its fiscal 2000 earnings-per-share outlook for
to $2.20 from $2.10.
Offerings and stock actions
set a 4-for-3 stock split.
said it has been awarded a contract for digital subscriber line broadband Internet protocol equipment from German Internet service provider
said it has named Leonard Green chairman, while Timothy Noonan will continue as interim CEO.