Skip to main content

It looks like stocks are setting up to close a very mixed month with a correspondingly mixed open.

The market: Join the discussion on


Message Boards. At 9:10 a.m. EST, the

S&P 500

futures were unchanged, a couple of points below fair value and indicating a modest inclination toward the downside for the early going.

Tech was looking a bit stronger after Friday's sharp

selloff, with the thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures up 20 to 3495.

"I think the news from


(QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report

and the upgrade on



Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

might help put a little snap back in the


," said Bill Meehan, chief market analyst at

Cantor Fitzgerald

. "But I think the near-term upside is pretty limited."

Qualcomm was looking firmer on



The Wall Street Journal

reported that it is close to a wireless deal in China. And a number of firms are out with positive comments on Ericsson after its earnings report Friday.

It hasn't been a pleasant month, to say the least. Strong inflows have historically made January one of the market's strongest periods, but coming on the heels of last year's massive rally, this month has been anything but typical. With one day of trading to go, the S&P 500 is down 7.4% for the month. The last time we've seen that anything like that kind of January performance was back in 1990, when the S&P 500 rang in that New Year with a monthly loss of 6.9%.

Three 200-point declines in the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, an inverted yield curve and unprecedented Nasdaq volatility -- investors have had plenty to be nervous about over the past four weeks. But the market's worries will end the month focused on the same phenomenon they started with: rising interest rates. The

Federal Open Market Committee

meets Tuesday and Wednesday this week to decide whether to raise rates by 25 or 50 basis points.

Rates were moving higher in the bond market lately. The 10-year note was down 7/32 to 95 6/32, putting its yield at 6.69%. The 30-year Treasury was off 9 ticks to 95 13/32 and yielding 6.476%. At 10 a.m., the bonds will get their next piece of important economic data in the form of the

Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index


Meanwhile, the cuffs continue to come off last year's Internet IPO insiders. The lockups on nine more stocks have expired, including

Internet Capital Group





Internet Initiative Japan



For a complete list of the day's lockup expirations, see

On Tap Today.

If U.S. stocks are going to put any sort of rally together, they'll have to do it without Europe's help. In early afternoon trading, the large bourses there were solidly lower, paced by Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

, which was down 173.21, or 2.5%, to 6893.39. The Paris


was off 56.45, or 1%, to 5674.60, while London's


was down 64.2, or 1%, to 6311.4.

The euro was sagging below parity, lately trading at $0.9814.

Friday's selloff on Wall Street failed to produce a unilaterally negative reaction throughout Asian markets overnight. But it certainly did its damage to Hong Kong, whose currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar and thus sensitive to interest-rate changes. The

Hang Seng

plummeted 653.60, or 4.0%, to 15,532.34. Index heavyweights

Hutchison Whampoa



Cheung Kong Holdings


HSBC Holdings



China Telecom

(CHL) - Get China Mobile Ltd. Report

all got hammered.

Things had a much more positive tone in Tokyo, where sentiment was boosted by this week's kickoff of several new mutual funds expected to spend at least 1.5 trillion yen on shares over the next several months.

Nomura Asset Management's

1 trillion-yen investment trust, which launches Wednesday, is the largest of those funds.



rose 104.73 to 19,539.51, its highest level in 29 months.

The dollar traded tightly around 106.98 yen. Japanese exporters sold the dollar, while U.S. funds picked it up for the likely purpose of buying U.S. Treasuries, currency dealers said. The greenback was lately sitting at 106.72 yen.


Straits Times

index slipped 54.63, or 2.4%, to 2230.28.



rose 2.21 to 943.88.

For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.