Stocks Set to Move Higher in Quiet Trading

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By Justin Lahart
Staff Reporter

With the Treasuries and futures markets closing early today, and with many traders opting for the beach towel rather than the desk, it should be a slow day ahead of the long weekend.

"Its gonna be very quiet," says

Prudential Securities'

Larry Wachtel. "We're going to open on a firm note, though."

The futures and Treasury markets are signaling a strong open. The

S&P 500

futures closed last night 2 points above fair value. Now, they're up 2.25 and well into buy territory. The 30-year Treasury bond is up 7/32 at 95 21/32, pushing the yield down to 6.97%.

Traders say that they'll be watching

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

, which got upgraded by

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

today.

Traders will also be eyeing disk-drive makers like

Seagate

(SEG)

and

Komag

(KMAG)

. Those companies have been under pressure ever since

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

noted in its earnings breakout earlier this weak that it saw pricing pressure in the sector.

"It's probably a bit overdone," says a trader of the recent downturn. "There's some truth to it, but its more of a cyclical truth."

Price Communications

(PR)

is buying

Palmer Wireless

(PWIR)

for $17.50 a share. Palmer closed at 12 1/16 on Thursday.

Several newspapers are reporting that Peter Lund, president of

Westinghouse's

(WX)

CBS

division has resigned over CEO Michael Jordan's restructuring plans.

Several papers also report that negotiators in tobacco talks have tentatively agreed on several key issues, including reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes. The joke going around Wall Street (hey, it's slow ahead of Memorial Day) is that the tobacco companies have conceded that, yes,

Liggett

cigarettes do cause cancer.

US West

(USW)

is close to selling its Minneapolis-St. Paul cable systems to privately-held

Charter Communications

for $600 million.

In Tokyo, the

Nikkei

pulled its head above 20,000, with global blue-chips -- up on a more stable foreign exchange market -- leading the way.

Sony

(

(SNE) - Get Report

SNE ADR), helped by an announcement that it would institute a U.S.-style management structure, moved up 280 yen to 9680. The Nikkei closed up 131.61 at 20,009.00.

Hong Kong stocks moved to a record high. Red-chips led the way, driven by the high subscription rate for the initial public offering of

Beijing Enterprises

, the investment arm of the city of Beijing. Some investors see buying investment firms listed on the Hong Kong exchange, like Beijing Enterprises, as a way to play China without the risks inherent in investing in the China stock market.

The firmer dollar helped Germany's export-oriented stock market move higher, but with the British and U.S. markets closed Monday, volume was light. The

Dax

closed at 3602.19, up 22.77.

A quiet day in Britain, where stocks have drifted a little higher. The

FTSE

is up 11.40 at 4663.20.