Stocks Look to Open Higher

Overseas, there's a new Russian prime minister -- again.
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Stocks look like they'll see a higher open this morning, and it will be interesting to see if the gains hold.

If the market follows the recent pattern, they will not, as investors take any suggestion of strength to raise cash. But it is possible that after Friday's

employment report

that won't happen anymore. In falling on the strong jobs data, the market may have already priced in a

Fed

hike Aug. 24. And that could mean it's found its bottom.

The problem with that thesis is that it assumes everybody has figured out the Fed is going to hike rates. There are always laggards. There are always people who don't figure it out until the last minute. And then there's the other side -- the people who are already worried that the Fed is going to bump rates up by not a quarter, but a half point. There are still reasons to not put much faith in opening strength.

"It looks like there's a little short-covering, but I don't think anyone is going to get carried away this morning," said Todd Clark, head of listed trading at

Charles Schwab

. "I wouldn't chase this thing."

At 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were up 4, about 4 above fair value and indicating a positive open.

The 30-year Treasury was off 17/32 to 87 9/32, putting the yield at 6.19%.

Russian President

Boris Yeltsin

, again showing his penchant to go through prime ministers like

George Steinbrenner

used to go through managers, today sacked

Sergei Stepashin

, replacing him with head of security

Vladimir Putin

, pending the

Duma's

approval.

Though a new Russian prime minister is hardly anything to get excited about -- Putin will be the fifth one in 17 months -- the dollar has caught a bit of a bid on the news.

The euro was down $0.0042 to $1.07. The greenback was up 0.56 yen to 115.25, pushed higher by persistent intervention rumors.

Tokyo stocks bounded higher, helped along by the firmer dollar and the perception that the 17,000 level on the

Nikkei

is rock solid. Comments from

Economic Planning Agency

head

Taichi Sakaiya

, who over the weekend called for a second stimulus package this year in excess of 10 trillion yen, also supported the market.

The Nikkei added 106.21 to 17,190.45. With many investors taking the week off for the

Obon

holidays, trading was thin.

Hong Kong traders, reacting to Friday's strong jobs data in the U.S., sent stocks sharply lower. The

Hang Seng

fell 221.59, or 1.7%, to 12,945.47.

Frankfurt stocks saw a drop at the open on the latest Moscow firing, but the retreat didn't last for long. The

Xetra Dax

was up 65.45, or 1.3%, to 5075.92.

Paris'

CAC

was up 58.12, or 1.4%, to 4281.76.

London traders were bidding the market higher despite stronger-than-expected July price data. Led by gains in telecoms and oils, the

FTSE

was up 20.6 to 6141.6.

Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Brian Louis

Staff Reporter

EMC

(EMC)

agreed to buy

Data General

(DGN)

for $1.1 billion in stock. EMC will issue 0.3262 share for each Data General share. Based on Friday's closing prices, the deal values Data General at about $19.58 a share. Data General closed Friday at 13 3/16. EMC, a provider of enterprise storage systems, software and services, said it expects the takeover to be accretive to its fiscal 2000 earnings and "significantly" accretive to fiscal 2001 earnings.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

America Online

(AOL)

are considering an arrangement that would diminish the role of

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

by giving AOL and maybe other Internet providers enhanced access to AT&T's systems, the

New York Times

reported, citing executives close to the companies,

American Tower

(AMT) - Get Report

is acquiring the rights to 2,100 communications towers from

AirTouch Communications

, a unit of

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

.

Ashland

(ASH) - Get Report

said it made a tender offer to shareholders of

Superfos

, a Danish construction company, at $21 a share.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

plans to invest $1 billion into

KPMG LLP

, the U.S. division of

KPMG International

.

GE Medical Systems

, a unit of

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, is buying

OEC Medical Systems

(OXE)

for $36 a share in stock.

Miscellany

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

introduced the 650-megahertz AMD Athlon processor, which it said is "the world's fastest and highest-performance microprocessor for x86 computer systems."

Iomega

(IOM)

named Philip Husby chief financial officer. Husby held the same position at

Ogden

(OG)

.

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

set some new calling plans. Under the "MCI 5 Cents Everyday" program, callers who pay $1.95 a month would be charged 5 cents a minute on all residential state-to-state long-distance calls made between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday, along with weekday daytime calling for 25 cents a minute. Under another plan, "MCI 5 Cents Everyday Plus," the cost would be 5 cents a minute from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and 10 cents per minute for weekday daytime calling for a monthly fee of just $4.95.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates are from

First Call

.)

Cisco is expected to post its fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow. The 30-analyst estimate calls for the company to earn 20 cents a share.

May Department Stores

(MAY)

reported second-quarter earnings of 43 cents a share, two cents ahead of the 18-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 35 cents.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

is expected to post second-quarter earnings tomorrow. The 17-analyst estimate calls for the company to earn 28 cents a share.

Analyst actions