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Stocks Looking Mixed to Higher

But Goldman Sachs has cut its March quarter estimates on Microsoft, and that could damage the techs.

If stocks are going to move higher today, they're going to have to do it without

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

.

News that

Goldman Sachs

has cut

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

revenue estimates could put a damper on any buying that technology might see in the early going. At 9:05 a.m. EDT, the

Nasdaq 100

futures were up 1 point, well off its earlier highs. Microsoft itself was trading at 82 1/8 on

Instinet

, down from a close of 83 7/8.

The Microsoft news comes at a delicate time for technology sentiment. It's not that there aren't any buyers out there. Recent action has left a lot of issues looking extremely cheap relative to where they were just a few weeks ago. But most observers are still generally unconvinced that the selling in Nasdaq securities has bottomed.

"The bottom line is that technology is on the sidelines for now," said Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst at

TheStreet Recommends

Prudential Securities

. "Investors have turned away from that for the time being."

The tech-slathered index still hasn't swung back to test last Tuesday's intraday low of 3649 -- something a lot of technicians think has to happen before tech can make a sustained move higher. Even those traders who claim to eschew technical analysis don't like the way tech has been reacting to earnings thus far.

Things look decent for the broader market. The

S&P 500 futures

were down 0.3 points, more than 5 points above fair value and indicating some modest strength in early trading.

The bond market was edging lower, with the 10-year note down 14/32 to 104 2/32 and yielding 5.944%.

European markets were little changed in afternoon trade. France's

CAC

index was up 10.70 to 6272.12, while Germany's

Xetra Dax

was 21.78 points higher to 7464.44. London's

FTSE

was up 19 points to 6398.2.

The euro was trading at $0.9555.

Asian

markets were able to move higher overnight despite the considerable uncertainty surrounding U.S. technology shares.

Blue-chips boomed in Tokyo after the

Bank of Japan's

monthly report gave an optimistic assessment of the Japanese economy, which has undergone contraction for two consecutive quarters. The

Nikkei

rose 310.69 points, or 1.5%, to 20,833.21 -- its highest level since December 1996.

Currency dealings were a bit more exciting than they've been in a while, though most of the action happened after trading was finished in Tokyo. The dollar had edged lower to around 106.53 yen before BOJ Governor

Masaru Hayami

acknowledged to reporters that conditions that would allow the central bank to end its zero-interest-rate policy were falling into place.

Hayami's comment sent the yen soaring in London; the dollar quickly sank to 105.77 yen. The greenback was lately sitting at 105.71 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

rose a modest 89.43 points to 16,577.09 amid news of realignment in the Asian telecom sector. Australian telecom

Telstra

(TLS) - Get Telos Corporation Report

reportedly will buy $1.5 billion in

Pacific Century CyberWorks

convertible notes and invest another $1.5 billion in

Cable & Wireless HKT

(HKT)

once PCCW takes over that company.

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