For the second straight session, stocks are set to make an impressive entrance in the early going.
and its blowout
numbers from last night. Softee's strong earnings report, with its assurances of "awesome" PC demand, comes at a crucial time for the
Nasdaq Composite Index
, whose largest stocks have been under pressure in the wake of last week's earnings shortfall from
The market: Join the discussion on
By the same token, it couldn't have come at a worse time for those who feel certain that the market can't convincingly resume its upward climb until big-cap tech capitulates. Big-cap tech is most certainly not ready to capitulate this morning: With Softee lately indicated up 5 5/16 to 91 9/16 in premarket trading, the Nasdaq should rally hard at the open.
Of course, that rally will have to contend with the still significant cautiousness in the market, which has been leading many traders to sell into any strength in stocks. Yesterday afternoon, for example, caution washed out all of the Nasdaq's early 40-plus point gain.
Stocks will also have to compete with some rather meaty yields in the fixed-income market. The 30-year Treasury was lately down 7/32 to 96 23/32, putting the yield at 6.371%. The December bond futures contract was down 8 to 110 26/32.
"I don't think we're going to get carried away here," said Todd Clark, head of listed trading at
Volpe Brown & Whelan
. "I think it's going to be similar to yesterday. The bond market is afraid of its own shadow, and as long as that continues to occur, the only demand for equities will be from shortcoverers."
Right now, though, things look good. At 9:05 a.m. EDT, the
futures were up 5, about 10 points above fair value and indicating a strong open.
There are no major economic data due out today. The biggest government figures this morning are those on the international trade deficit, which the
said narrowed to $24.1 billion in August from a revised $24.89 billion in July. Economists in the
poll had been expecting a narrowed trade deficit of $24.7 billion.
In Asia, the relatively benign CPI and the relative strength it inspired on Wall Street
yesterday brought investors back to the long side of stocks, where they hadn't been spending much time since the U.S.
Producer Price Index
came out so hot
last Friday. Hong Kong's
shot up 364.43, or 3%, to 12,498.56. In Tokyo, the
gained 280.54, or 1.6%, to 17,534.71.
The CPI also helped firm the dollar up against the yen. The greenback moved above the 106-yen level overnight, and was lately quoted at 105.8 yen.
In Jakarta, stocks suffered through a turbulent session overnight as Indonesia's presidential election took a couple of unexpected turns. The
Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite Index
rose as much as 10% after President
withdrew from the race, but stocks turned tail amid violence that gripped the capital on news that ailing Muslim leader
had defeated front-runner Megawati Sukarnoputri, the popular daughter of Indonesia's first president, Sukarno. The benchmark index ultimately gained just 0.78 to 584.43.
The big European indices were mixed in early afternoon trading. London's
was up 14.1 to 6007.8, while the Paris
was 6.12 higher to 4597.32. Frankfurt's
was off 18.71 to 5278.20.
The euro is coming under a bit of pressure today from a weaker-than-expected West German business confidence survey by the
research institute. The euro fell through the $1.08 level on the release of the survey, which was unchanged for September at 95.4, disappointing expectations for a reading of 96.3. The euro was lately quoted at $1.0766.
Wednesday's Wake-Up Watchlist
after the close posted better-than-expected earnings. Mister Softee reported fiscal first-quarter operating earnings of 38 cents a share, 4 cents ahead of the 27-analyst
First Call/Thomson Financial
wrote about Microsoft's earnings in a story
reported third-quarter earnings of $1.37 a share, a nickel ahead of the 20-analyst First Call consensus estimate and up from the year-ago 82 cents.
is expected to report earnings today. The First Call 32-analyst estimate calls for AOL to earn 13 cents a share.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
(Earnings estimates are from First Call/Thomson Financial.)
Bausch & Lomb
said it doesn't know the reason for its stock's swoon since posting earnings last week. The company said it's comfortable with the consensus estimate for earnings in 2000. The 11-analyst estimate calls for the company to earn $3.08 a share in 2000.
posted third-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share, in line with the 17-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 69 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, a penny shy of the 27-analyst estimate. The company posted earnings of 8 cents a share in the year-ago period.
posted third-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, in line with the 13-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 56 cents.
reported third-quarter earnings of 29 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the 20-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 19 cents.
reported third-quarter earnings of 74 cents a share, a penny ahead of the 11-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 52 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, 1 cent ahead of the 10-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 66 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of 90 cents a share, a penny higher than the 12-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 78 cents.
reported third-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share, better than the 20-analyst estimate of 50 cents and the year-ago 44 cents.
reported a third-quarter loss of 21 cents a share, narrower than the two-analyst estimate of a 22-cent loss but down from the year-ago loss of 20 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, in line with the 23-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 46 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the nine-analyst estimate, but down from the year-ago 9 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, below the 17-analyst estimate of 5 cents and the year-ago 27 cents.
reported third-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, in line with the 22-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 29 cents.
posted third-quarter earnings of $1.78 per share, missing the six-analyst estimate of $1.84 but up from the year-ago $1.70 a share.
reported third-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, a penny better than the 29-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 23 cents.
Offerings and stock actions
is scuttling -- at least for now -- its plan to split off its
video-rental chain because of the poor performance of Blockbuster's stock and Viacom's proposed acquisition of
The Wall Street Journal
Separately, Blockbuster posted third-quarter earnings of 14 cents a share, a penny better than the eight-analyst estimate and matching the year-ago report.
sliced its intermediate-term rating on
to accumulate from buy.
Credit Suisse First Boston
cut its rating on
to hold from buy.
to its Focus One list as the top pick in its multi-industry category.
wrote about the recent controversy swirling around Tyco in a
story last week.
to long-term buy.