It looks like stocks are gearing up to rebound from the harsh beating they took
At 9:10 a.m. EST, the
futures were up 7.6, a couple of points above fair value and indicating some modest early strength for the broad market. Things look better for tech, with the
futures lately up 55.55 to 4448.05.
"I think tech is going to do better today," said Jim Herrick, managing director of trading at
Robert W. Baird
. "I think we're going to see some profit-taking in the integrated oils, the service stocks and the drillers."
Crude for April delivery on the
New York Mercantile Exchange
was down $1.10 to $33.03 after Saudi Arabia and Iran noted their support of "timely oil supplies" and price stability.
The drubbing some blue-chip stocks took yesterday has left them at levels that are sure to find some buyers, at least for a short-term trade. But make no mistake. Divergence remains the fundamental feature of the market. Only the stocks with the highest growth rates are able to prosper consistently, and only the prosperous stocks can attract the flows. Week after week, the data show money rushing into technology, aggressive growth and biotech funds, while large-cap equity index funds -- the sort of funds that hold
Procter & Gamble
, for instance -- continue to face redemptions.
So yesterday was very bad day for the huge collection of stocks now known under the rubric of the Old Economy. For one thing, P&G's problems could carry implications for a number of firms whose profit margins are vulnerable to rising commodities prices. But it's also damaging in a broader psychological sense. Value managers have been able to make one compelling case for themselves throughout the phenomenal rally in Nasdaq issues: While their holdings may not be able to match the growth of a
Check Point Software
, they offer stable, reliable streams of earnings.
If value stocks can't even make that argument, the market's divergence could worsen as nongrowth managers face more redemptions. And that prospect is worrisome to a lot of people wondering how long the New Economy can hold up on its own. Back in the day, before the staggering scale of their gains gave tech stocks top billing in market coverage, observers used to point out how few companies were actually behind the Nasdaq's strength. And after all, excluding technology, the S&P 500 is in near-bear-market territory.
The bond market was edging lower, with the 10-year note down 7/32 to 100 23/32 and yielding 6.400%. The 30-year bond, meanwhile, was off 10/32 to 101 3/32, putting its yield at 6.169%.
is scheduled to speak at 9:30 a.m. in San Antonio, Texas.
The large European indices were mixed to lower in early afternoon trading. London's
was off 14.6 to 6451.9, while the Paris
was down 16.22 to 6425.63. Frankfurt's
was 2.17 higher to 8067.14.
The euro was trading at $0.9547.
Fallout from yesterday's big drop in U.S. equities was minimal in Asian markets overnight.
In Tokyo, the
slipped 177.44 to 19,766.80 as Japanese investors sought refuge in domestic-oriented stocks, such as paper, pulp and financial firms.
The currency market was overloaded with action, as the
Bank of Japan
, under directions from the
Ministry of Finance
, intervened twice on behalf of the dollar. The BOJ sold yen to buy greenbacks at around 106.30 to 106.40 yen, and then again at 107.00 yen. Dealers said the action was designed to help many midsize life insurance firms that were reportedly looking at hefty losses on positions in both the dollar and euro.
The dollar was lately trading at 106.87 yen.
inched up 86.07 to 17,951.43.
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.