It doesn't look like stocks are ready to add to the gains with which they closed last week so authoritatively.
At 9:05 a.m. EST, the
futures were off 0.7, a little more than a point below fair value and not indicating much of a clear trend for the day ahead. The
futures were up 5.5 to 4460, also a flattish indication.
Despite the way stocks behaved on Friday, the
jobs report that capped last week's data didn't really change much about the interest-rate environment. Seasonal factors had much (though not all) to do with the sharp decline in February job growth, and the unemployment rate's jump from 4.0% to 4.1% owed more to simple arithmetic rounding than a large reduction of payrolls. For now, the prognosis on rates remains the same: They're going up, they're going up incrementally, and they're going up for God only knows how long.
"We're going to have difficulty following through, as we've seen several times already," said Bill Meehan, chief market analyst at
. "The excitement over the employment numbers didn't spill over to the bond market, and I don't think it changes anything about what the
going to do."
So for traders, the burden of proof still lies with the Old Economy stocks, which will need to show the skeptics they can extend whatever strength they showed last week. That strength was spottier than the
Dow Jones Industrial Average's
mini-comeback would suggest, with manufacturers, chemicals, paper, drugs and banks putting in very mixed performances. Rotation was pretty much confined to brokers and retail stocks, and those sectors enjoyed a serious bounce: The
S&P Retail Index
rose 8.2% last week, while the
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
shot up a biotech-like 16.5% to test the level it was trading at last November.
has upgraded cyclicals
to buy from market performer, citing what it sees as improving trends in the industrial economy.
Nasdaq Composite Index
is within spitting distance of 5000 -- and the volatile Comp, up 20.8% on the year, can hawk quite a loogie nowadays.
The morning's top corporate news remains
confirmation that it is in talks with an unnamed company about selling itself and merger partner
U S West
. Rumor holds that the unnamed company is
is scheduled to speak at 11:30 a.m. at
on the topic of "Technology and the Economy." It's fairly safe to say that the market can expect Greenspan's characteristically even-handed treatment of the beneficent effects of technology on productivity.
The bond market was edging lower, with the 10-year note down 11/32 to 100 17/32 and yielding 6.426%. The 30-year bond, meanwhile, was off 8/32 to 101 12/32, putting its yield at 6.148%.
The large European indices were mixed to higher in early afternoon trading. London's
was up 58.8, or 0.9%, to 6546.3, while the Paris
was 50.03 higher to 6564.14. Frankfurt's
was up 20.43 to 7980.46.
The euro was trading at $0.9616.
Asian markets went their separate ways overnight.
Wall Street's rally on Friday helped ignite tech and telecom stocks in Hong Kong, where the
soared 473.54, or 2.8%, to 17,758.76.
In Tokyo, however, the
Nikkei fell 131.19 to 19,796.34.
sank 4.7% in a classic case of selling the news. The company released its
game console Saturday.
Sentiment wasn't helped any by weekend comments from
Economic Planning Agency
Administrative Vice Minister Takashi Nakanomyo, who said October-December
gross domestic product
will be "rather bad" because household spending, which makes up the largest portion of GDP, declined 2.2% in the period.
Nakanomyo's comments didn't dent the yen much. The dollar traded around 107.50 yen in Tokyo, and lately was sitting at 107.47 yen.
index sank 56.936, or 3.3%, to 1681.085, while Taiwan's
index shed 150.06, or 1.6%, to 9367.91.
climbed 14.50, or 1.6%, to 909.33.
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.