The broad market is going to come under some selling pressure in the early going.
At 9:05 a.m. EST, the
S&P 500 futures
were down 6.5, nearly 7 points below fair value and pointing toward a down open for the broad, large-cap market. The
futures were down 15 points, a more modest negative indication.
"I think temporarily, we'll go back to selling the Old Economy, buying the New," said Bob Basel, director of listed trading at
Salomon Smith Barney
. "We've had a pretty good run-up in the
, so you might see a bit of a pullback."
For the past week, the stock market's major indices have been telling the same old tale of divergence between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the
, which are still much more likely to move in opposite directions than together. But you shouldn't conclude from that pattern that stocks are going through a serious rotation.
On any given day, investors seem to have appetite enough for financials, computer boxmakers, semiconductors and cyclicals. And if the market's strength is broadening, it's an odd sort of breadth. If you're looking for reasons why the S&P 500 is sitting at an all-time high, just take a look at the recent performance of behemoths like
. The market cap of those companies has increased by more than $250 billion over the past six sessions.
For the first time since last fall, it seems, money is rushing into stocks from that poorly understood, mysterious place that market participants like to call "the sidelines."
Microsoft is dominating the corporate
headlines this morning, with
The Wall Street Journal
reporting that the government could be edging closer to a settlement to resolve the antitrust case against the company. The stock was trading at 106 1/4 on
, up from a close of 103 1/4.
, meanwhile, has raised its 12-month price target for GE to 200 from 150.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
has become the latest brokerage to crush its estimates, reporting that it earned $1.34 a share, well above the 12-analyst
First Call/Thomson Financial
consensus of $1.06.
The bond market was staging a decent rally, with the 10-year note lately up 22/32 to 103 15/32 and yielding 6.028%. News that
initial jobless claims
rose 4,000 to 266,000 in the week ended March 18 didn't have much impact on the bonds, whose strength picked up about 20 minutes after the
released the data.
The large European indices were roundly lower in afternoon trade. Frankfurt's
was off 61.55 to 7737.07, while the Paris
was down 58.50 to 6220.79. London's
was down 50.5 to 6559.1.
The euro was trading at $0.9671.
Asian markets were mixed overnight.
closed up 163.54 at 17,710.58. Index constituent
ran up 4% ahead of its 1999 earnings report and speculation that it might use the $5.1 billion it raised from the sale of its 5% stake in
to buy a telecom operator.
Tokyo stocks finished mixed after stumbling through a choppy session, with the
sinking 28.99 points to 19,704.60. In currency dealings, the dollar climbed to a two-week high against the yen, changing hands at 107.33 yen as trading moved over to London. The greenback was lately sitting at 107.48 yen.
In Taipei, the
index boomed 464.48, or 5.1%, to 9533.87 amid reports that Taiwan's outgoing president, Lee Teung-hui, will retire as head of the ruling Nationalist party.
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.