It looks like yesterday's selling will give way to some strength this morning.
Stocks are poised to nudge higher in the early going. At 9:05 a.m. EDT, the
futures were up 1.6, nearly 4 points above fair value and indicating a positive open.
It's not clear how much stocks will be able to extend any upside momentum they build, though there are more than a few people who think that stocks can still run higher. Traders without a crystal ball might lack the incentive to take on long positions ahead of next week, when the
Chicago Purchasing Managers
National Association of Purchasing Managers
indices will provide the first real clues about the course interest rates will take this fall.
Suffice it to say that a lot of players are still on holiday. Volume should be moderate at best, keeping the market primed for another volatile swing or two.
"The market will continue to be choppy" through today and into next week, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at
Miller Tabak Hirsch
On a short-term technical level, the market's on fairly precarious footing. Boockvar noted that short-term support on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
is at 11,194 -- about 4 points below yesterday's close. "With bonds down, anything could happen today."
The 30-year Treasury was coming under some pressure this morning as traders extended
yesterday's profit-taking. The long bond was lately off 5/32 to 102 31/32, its yield rising to 5.912%.
Today's July personal income and consumption data aren't moving the market much. The
reported that personal income grew 0.2%, below the 0.5% clip expected by economists in the
poll and down from June's 0.7% pace. Personal spending increased by 0.4%, lower than the expected 0.5% but up from the previous month's 0.3% growth rate.
International markets weren't providing any support for U.S. stocks. Overnight in Tokyo, stocks slumped for the fourth straight day in very light trading ahead of next week's Japanese industrial production and employment reports. The
fell 66.92 to 17,599.37.
In the meantime, Consumer Price Index figures gave Japanese investors mixed signals on the state of the economy's deflationary pressures: Consumer prices rose 0.3% for Tokyo in August but fell a greater-than-expected 0.4% nationwide. At the same time, the government said that wage-earning household spending increased 1.8% in July, the second consecutive monthly jump.
The dollar managed to hold a narrow range against the yen overnight despite ill-founded rumors that a Japanese newspaper was to quote
expressing his dismay over the recent strength of the yen. The report never appeared. Vague talk of an emergency
deputies meeting this weekend also failed to move the dollar much against the yen; the greenback was lately quoted at 111.65 yen.
In Hong Kong, traders took profits on stocks ahead of the release of gross domestic product data and the
Hong Kong Association of Banks
meeting. As widely expected, the HKAB decided after the close to match the U.S.
Federal Open Market Committee's
rate hike on Tuesday by raising deposit rates 25 basis points to 3.75%. Second-quarter GDP rose 0.5% from the previous year, confounding expectations for a sixth straight quarter of contraction.
dropped 225.25, or 1.7%, to 13,383.13.
In Europe, after opening lower on the heels of yesterday's slump on Wall Street, markets were rebounding modestly toward midday along with U.S. stock futures. London's
was up 12.0 to 6395.9, while the Paris
was up 14.41 to 4643.78. Frankfurt's
was up 20.20 to 5409.54.
Friday's Wake-Up Watchlist
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Xomed Surgical Products
for $800 million in stock.
in a stock swap that values Destia at $18.63 a share. It closed yesterday at 13 15/16.
to outperform from buy.
raised its price forecast for this year and next and repeated its buy recommendation on
Shell Transport & Trading
to outperform from buy.
Merrill Lynch was out with positive comments on
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
increased its price target on
to 95 from 80.
Credit Suisse First Boston
to strong buy from buy. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 26 cents a share, better than the
11-analyst estimate of a 33-cent loss, but swinging from the year-ago profit of 3 cents.
Morgan Stanley downgraded
to outperform from strong buy.
to attractive from buy.
entertainment division president, Jamie Tarses, has resigned. ABC is owned by
An expanding number of analysts think
as a way of resolving a legal battle between the two companies, the Heard on the Street column in
The Wall Street Journal
reports. A few years ago Chevron lost a nearly $1 billion legal battle with Occidental and is now running out of appeals on the matter, the column said.
A California judge hacked a product-liability judgment against auto titan
to $1.2 billion from $4.9 billion.
chief investment strategist, Charles Clough, who in recent years has been bullish on bonds but negative on stocks, recently told his supervisors he's leaving the firm at year's end and hopes to launch an investment boutique, the
reported that Merrill and Clough said the move wasn't forced and that his supervisors tried to get him to stay on.
Toys R Us'
CEO Robert Nakasone has resigned over "differing views regarding the direction of the company." The toy company said its chairman and ex-CEO, Michael Goldstein, will act as CEO temporarily, until its board can find a permanent replacement.
The Inside Wall Street column in
, penned by Gene Marcial, says some investors are excited over
prospects. The column says the company is poised to make a digital camera to be developed with
and that Concord will also introduce a product that can transmit pictures to a cell phone, a product that's being developed by a major European wireless-phone company.
Elsewhere, Charles LaLoggia, editor of
LaLoggia's Special Situation Investor
newsletter, is convinced
will attract one of the major water utilities to take it over, the column says.
In a final item, the column says that some money managers believe
New Century Financial
is a takeover candidate.