Stocks look like they're going to take back a little bit this morning.
Nobody's going to pull out the noisemakers for something like that, though. For stocks to come back after a selloff like yesterday's is a natural. And month-end buying typically boosts stocks a bit in any case.
Still, it will mean something if stocks can stay in the black today. It will give the market a bit of a psychological toehold, maybe tone down the talk of how this year is last year repeating itself. It will be good.
If it happens, that is. There are a couple of big hurdles stocks will have to get through to close the day out positive. At 10 a.m. EDT, the July
Chicago Purchasing Managers Index
gets released. Considered an early indictor on what next week's national index will look like, economists expect the Chicago to come in at 58.8, down from last month's 60.
Next, the market will have to combat the effects of any investors squaring positions ahead of next week's slew of economic reports. Because this is a summer Friday and volume will be thin, stock movements could be exaggerated.
At 9 a.m. EDT, the
futures were off 2.5, putting them more than 3 above fair value and indicating a positive open.
"Today, the futures are more up on an oversold bounce than anything," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at
. "I think the market's are going to rally at the open and then tag off. There's enough concern about the level of interest rates and what the
going to do that unfortunately people are now saying that they have to wait and see what the Fed does." If that's true, the market looks like it's in for a buyer's strike until the Aug. 24 Fed meeting, suggesting that the market will at best drift lower.
The 30-year Treasury was down 10/32 to 88 13/32, putting the yield at 6.11%.
Japanese stocks edged lower in cautious trading ahead of the weekend. The
slipped 8.06 to 17,861.86.
Japan's June unemployment rate climbed 0.3 percentage points to 4.9%. (If unemployment was tallied in Japan as it is in the U.S., that number would be much higher.) Although that was weaker than economists expected, it had little effect on the market, as it's almost a given in Tokyo that the unemployment rate will rise as companies restructure.
Hong Kong stocks sold off sharply in the morning, but made back their losses, and then some, on optimism over mainland-based
China Everbright Group
The company had been under pressure on reports that Chinese authorities were investigating its chairman, Zhu Xiaohua. Today, the company announced Zhu will be replaced by a
People's Bank of China
deputy governor, Liu Mingkang. China-related shares skyrocketed and blue-chips traipsed along after them. The
added 69.02 to 13,186.86.
Stocks in Europe were bouncing back.
was up 13.97 to 5066.29 even as another 3.4% chunk was taken out of
In Paris, the
was up 50.16, or 1.2%, to 4356.56. Today's options expiration ("the French have to do everything a little bit different," groused one trader who works CAC options and futures a while back) could add a little volatility through the day.
London stocks were on the mend, helped by good first-half results from
was up 67.6, or 1.1%, to 6185.1.
Friday's Wake-Up Watchlist
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
(Earnings estimates are from
posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of 58 cents a share, a penny ahead of the 15-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago operating earnings of 46 cents.
Electronic Data Systems
reported second-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, a penny better than the 19-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 39 cents.
reported second-quarter earnings of 83 cents a share, beating the five-analyst estimate of 81 cents and up from the year-ago 69 cents.
posted first-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, ahead of the 15-analyst estimate of 37 cents.
reported second-quarter earnings of 61 cents a share, in line with the 10-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 58 cents.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Fidelity National Financial
are talking about getting together, the
Los Angeles Times
reported. The newspaper said it is expected that Fidelity National would buy Chicago Title, but both title insurers would retain their names and identities and analysts said the value of the deal could be as high as $1.4 billion.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
detailed their previously announced alliance, which will become effective Nov. 1. The
reported that Leo van Wijk, the Dutch carrier's president, said on Thursday that the two airlines were likely to merge within three years.
Salomon Smith Barney
to neutral from outperform.
had negative things to say about
Warburg Dillon Read
downgraded DaimlerChrysler to buy from strong buy, while
cut earnings estimates on the company. DaimlerChrysler failed to match expectations in its profit report released yesterday.
board named Ken Thompson its president to replace John Georgius, who will retire on Dec. 31.
With the number of diabetics predicted to soar to 220 million worldwide in the next decade, a host of firms are racing to develop new technologies that make managing the disease more comfortable and effective, the Heard on the Street column in
The Wall Street Journal
says today. Among the companies receiving positive mention in the column are
Inhale Therapeutic Systems
Gene Marcial's Inside Wall Street column in
says some pros believe
is expected to announce a remake of itself into a Web-based operator.
In another item, Marcial quotes Jim Tilton, managing director at
Trust Co. of the West
, as saying he wouldn't be surprised if
ended up buying
. Trust Co. owns some 5% of Diametrics, the column says. In June, H-P and Diametrics set a pact under which H-P would sell Diametrics' blood-testing systems worldwide, and on July 17 H-P acquired 5% of Diametrics, with an option to buy as much as 19.9%, the column says.
Elsewhere, Catherine Moore of
, a unit of
Project Software & Development
will spin off to shareholders its
operations and she figures MRO.com, which she projects to post revenue of more than $6 million in fiscal 2000, is worth $500 million, or about 30 a share, the column says in another item.