Stocks are gearing up for an early rebound from yesterday's sloppy


At 9:05 a.m. EST, the

S&P 500 futures

were up 2.6, nearly 9 points above fair value and indicating some good buying in the early going for the broad market. The indication for big-cap tech was a bit more mixed, with the

Nasdaq 100

futures up 8.7.

"It looks like the market is going to bounce a little bit to the upside," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at

IJL Wachovia

. "Not necessarily a huge amount. Take a look at the open, wait until 10 o'clock. That's when the pros come out. That's when the carnivores come out and start either profit-taking or bargain-hunting."

The amount of

chatter over yesterday's shift in

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recommended asset allocation makes one thing clear: The stock market is dying for a catalyst. News has been very scarce of late, and all the talk about the upcoming raft of strong earnings seems to have produced an atmosphere more cautious than ebullient.

There's a lot of waiting to be done, unfortunately: waiting to find out whether earnings have already been priced into stocks, waiting to see how the ongoing discussion of the interest-rate environment develops ahead of the

Federal Reserve's

May meeting.

At least the market has finally gotten something close to closure regarding this week's


discussions. The cartel agreed yesterday to increase crude production by about 1.45 million barrels a day. Iran formally opted out of that deal, but has said it will raise its own output starting April 1. It's not clear whether Iran will boost production by the 264,000 barrels-a-day target the OPEC agreement would have set for the country.

Most observers agree that the production hikes won't do much to significantly alter crude's current supply/demand dynamic. Still, the price of oil is moving lower again this morning, with crude for May delivery lately down 59 cents to $26.50. That could threaten some of the gains that volatile oil and oil-service stocks have garnered in their recent rallies.


(T) - Get Report

is generating the morning's biggest corporate headlines. Web portal


(ATHM) - Get Report

said that Telephone, which owns 58% of the company's voting stock, now has the right to elect a majority of its board members. Moreover, AT&T will integrate Excite@Home's financial results with its own -- a move that AT&T expects will cut its 2000 operating earnings by 20 cents a share.

Meanwhile, AT&T

last night finally set plans to issue a tracking stock for its wireless operations. Telephone would raise $9.4 billion to $11.5 billion in the offering based on a price range of $26 to $32 a share.



, Excite@Home was trading at 38 1/2 from a close of 34 5/16, while AT&T had last traded at 59 5/16, down slightly from yesterday's close of 59 5/8.

The bond market was little changed, with the 10-year note down 4/32 to 102 13/32 and yielding 6.170%. No major economic data are scheduled for release.

The large European indices were narrowly mixed in afternoon trade. London's


was down 37.1 to 6613.0, while the Paris


was up 25.13 to 6549.43. Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was up 26.23 to 7958.16.

The euro was trading lower at $0.9573.

Asian markets were mixed overnight.

In Tokyo, a torrent of money from mutual fund managers helped push the


up 323.31, or 1.6%, to 20,706.65 -- its highest close since December 1996.

The strong outlook for local stocks, coupled with news that

industrial production

rose 3% in February from the previous month, helped boost the yen. The dollar fell to 106.02 yen in Tokyo currency trading, and continued to slide in London. The greenback was lately sitting at 105.48 yen.

Hong Kong stocks went south on the heels of yesterday's selling in New York. The

Hang Seng

sank 205.32, or 1.1%, to 18,096.37. The index had reached a record close in the previous session.

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