Stocks Feeling That Jobs-Report Anticipation

Volume stands to be thin this morning, so look for a bit of volatility.
Author:
Publish date:

If Wall Street is lucky, some of the choppiness in U.S. stocks will get smoothed out today as investors bide their time ahead of Friday's crucial

jobs report

.

There are all kinds of reasons to think it might work out that way. After yesterday's selling on the strength of the

National Association of Purchasing Management's

May survey, the bond market looks like it's come to a rest. Stock investors, too, have put on the positions they want going into Friday. With a paucity of news, there should be little more than position-adjustment trading today.

"On what basis is anyone going to get aggressive? It's going to be real light all the way to Friday," said Bill Meehan, market analyst at

Cantor Fitzgerald

.

But it's important to remember that light volume breeds volatility in the market. Stocks may whip around a bit.

At 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were off 2, about 3 below fair value and indicating a negative open.

A slew of

Fed

types are scheduled to speak today --

San Francisco Fed

President

Robert Parry

, Governor

Edward Gramlich

,

Richmond Fed

President

Alfred Broaddus

and Fed Chairman

Alan Greenspan

himself. While the others may put their two cents in on where monetary policy is headed, Greenspan, scheduled to speak on trade and technology at noon EDT, will likely hold off until he speaks before

Congress

June 17.

The 30-year Treasury was down 10/32 to 90 8/32, lifting the yield to 5.95%.

Tokyo stocks lingered near the flat line as investors weighed an expected new round of stimulus against the trouble that U.S. markets have lately run into. The

Nikkei

added 9.49 to close at 16,417.99.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

got a boost from index heavyweight

HSBC

, which posted a 1.9% gain that offset selling in other issues on U.S. rate fears. The Hang Seng added 95.08 to 12,458.64.

After the close, HSBC said it took a 70% stake in Malta's

Mid-Med Bank

.

As expected, the

European Central Bank

kept rates on hold at its meeting today. After the meeting, President

Wim Duisenberg

made some constructive comments on the euro, but they had little effect on markets. In Frankfurt, the

Dax

was down 4.82 to 5016.42. In Paris, the

CAC

was off 3.46 to 4310.23.

With some good company news outpacing U.S. interest-rate worries, London stocks were higher. Leading the way was perennial takeover candidate

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

-- up 5% on speculation that Sweden's

Novartis

(NVTSY)

is showing an interest. Also showing good gains was

J Sainsbury

. The U.K.'s second-biggest grocer was up 3% after it announced a broad restructuring in which it promised to cull bureaucracy.

The

FTSE

was up 56.1 to 6306.1.

Wednesday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Brian Louis

Staff Reporter

  • Barnes & Noble (BKS) - Get Report is terminating its planned $600 million purchase of Ingram Book Group. Published reports this week said the staff of the Federal Trade Commission concluded that the proposed takeover violates antitrust law and that the FTC staff was going to recommend that the full commission reject the deal.
  • Adobe Systems (ADBE) - Get Report said second-quarter earnings may top analysts' expectations.
  • American Home Products (AHP) warned it expects second-quarter earnings to fall about 7 cents below the 25-analyst First Call forecast of 41 cents a share and full-year 1999 earnings to fall about 11 cents below the 27-analyst view of $1.89 a share. AHP earned 39 cents in the year-ago second quarter and $1.78 in 1998. AHP, which blamed a slump in world grain and livestock prices for the warning, also said it was considering strategic alternatives for its agricultural product and livestock units. In other news:
  • An unknown number of people were killed and at least 77 were injured when an American Airlines passenger jet landing at Little Rock National Airport slid along the runway and burst into flames, according to a Reuters report. American is a unit of AMR (AMR) .
  • AmeriTrade (AMTD) - Get Report announced a 3-for-1 stock split.
  • CBS (CBS) - Get Report and Banyan Systems (BNYN) announced an agreement for CBS to acquire a 35% equity stake in Switchboard, Banyan's majority-owned Internet subsidiary. In exchange, Switchboard will receive $135 million of promotion and branding over a term of seven and 10 years.
  • Friede Goldman International (FGI) , an offshore drilling services company, and Halter Marine (HLX) - Get Report are merging to create Friede Goldman Halter. The new company will have a backlog of more than $1 billion, a work force of more than 12,000, pro forma revenue of nearly $1.5 billion and total assets of more than $900 million.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HWP) is hosting a meeting with analysts in New York.
  • Lockheed Martin's (LMT) - Get Report Titan IV rocket-launch failures could cost the company significantly more in lost profits than previously disclosed and could potentially run into additional tens of millions of dollars, government and company officials said, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • MCI WorldCom (WCOM) is hosting a meeting with analysts in New York.
  • Peoples Heritage Financial Group (PHBK) is buying Banknorth Group (BKNG) - Get Report in a deal valued at $780.7 million.
  • Charles Schwab (SCH) and Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance (TKIOY) , Japan's largest nonlife insurance company, will jointly establish a full-service brokerage firm serving Japanese individual investors starting in the fall.