Looks like markets are seeing a rash of red at the open this morning.
At 8:05 a.m. EDT, the
S&P 500 futures were down 11.8 points, more than 10 points below fair value and indicating a solidly negative open. The
futures were down 110 points, indicating some heavy selling in large-cap technology stocks in the early going.
for the rough-and-tumble opening tech stocks are going to have, as the software behemoth is playing bad-news bear again.
Despite well-behaved March-quarter earnings released
Thursday, Microsoft missed revenue estimates, and its executives said in an after-hours conference call that things weren't looking so hot for the company's June quarter and fiscal 2001 earnings. Then this morning, more antitrust trouble erupted, with
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post
reporting that the government could force a breakup of Bill's empire, demanding that the tech giant sell its software business or split into three separate units.
Microsoft was down 8 13/16 to 70 1/8 on
The news certainly can't help sentiment among weak-kneed tech investors. Over the past month, a flutter of bad Microsoft news has knocked the Nasdaq off its feet several times.
The computer bellwether could have faced the blows alone if the issues were purely Microsoft-specific, and ones which could fortify its competitors. The antitrust developments could be seen in that light, but Microsoft blamed an overall slowdown in PC sales for its revenue troubles. That's why the malaise is spreading throughout the tech sector.
In any case, investors will be watching what Wall Street talking heads have to say about Microsoft this morning. Will influential analysts change their buy ratings on the company or won't they?
Wall Streeters will also continue to watch earnings. Will this week be as good as the last?
earnings slate includes
, both of which topped estimates this morning.
Investors may give the
a further boost at the start of the week, as they continue to look for solid old-school value vs. growth. The index is back in the running after regaining most of its April 14 losses. But most feel there is more choppiness to come. The risk of inflation and the possibility that
Alan Greenspan could continue tightening his grip on the economy continue to loom over a jittery market.
The bond market was edging up quietly, with the 10-year note up 3/32 to 103 24/32 and yielding 5.987%. Meanwhile, no major data are in the pipeline today.
Asian markets were mixed today.
In Tokyo, selected blue-chips and technology shares rebounded after a big tumble last week, taking the
up 227.47 to 18,480.15.
The greenback inched slightly higher against the yen to around 105.66. It was lately sitting at about 105.53 yen.
index fell 312.39, or 3.4%, to 8808.09 as sentiment for technology shares deteriorated amid thin volume.
The Hong Kong market continues closed today, after taking a break on Friday for the Easter holiday. The market will reopen Tuesday.
For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.