Wall Street Looks to Shake Off the Blues

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Russian President

Boris Yeltsin

fires his entire government and reappoints

Victor Chernomyrdin

as prime minister. Investors may wonder how the news out of Russia will affect U.S. stocks today.

Not a lot, apparently.

Despite the high drama out of Moscow, where bankers are meeting today to figure out how Russia will deal with its commercial debt obligations, and the continued concern over Venezuela's currency woes, Wall Street has apparently put things foreign on the back burner for once. The momentum from Friday's late-day recovery looks like it will extend into today's trading.

"We'll get some follow-through, which is not terribly shocking," said Bill Meehan, market analyst at

Cantor Fitzgerald

. "Friday we tested the 1055 level

on the

S&P 500

for the fifth time this month. It looks to me that we'll get another relief rally."

For the longer term, though, Meehan remains unimpressed, pointing to companies' poor earnings prospects and analysts' estimates that he believes are dangerously optimistic.

"I think the upside is very limited here," he said. "It looks to me that 1100 to 1105 is the maximum upside. I would be inclined to be aggressively shorting if we got up to that level."

At about 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were up 1.80, putting them more than 3 points above fair value and indicating a positive open. With expectations of a strong performance in stocks, Treasuries were selling off. The long bond was down 19/32 to 100 11/32, lifting the yield to 5.48%.

Wall Street's poor performance Friday, and concerns about restructuring plans for

Long Term Credit Bank

, hurt Japanese stocks. Parliamentary bickering over how LTCB's nonperforming loans will be taken care of threatens to delay a series of banking bills that the ruling

Liberal Democratic Party

is trying to get through the

Diet

. Furthermore, traders found some aspects of LTCB's restructuring -- necessary for its merger with

Sumitomo Trust

-- troubling. The

Nikkei

fell 309.84 to 14,988.36, with bank stocks bearing the brunt of it.

Hong Kong's government again intervened -- some would say interfered -- in the island's stock market. Continuing what has become something of a brawl between hedge funds and the government, the

Hang Seng

climbed 317.87 to 7845.48 in what may be seen as an officially sanctioned short squeeze.

European stocks were higher, with Frankfurt's

Dax

up 96.12 to 5259.62, Paris'

CAC

up 9 to 3952.67 and London's

FTSE

up 8.6 to 5485.6.

Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By Brian Louis
Staff Reporter

  • Scottish Power (SPI) - Get Report, newspapers in London reported. On Friday, shares of Scottish Power rose 3/8 to 38 1/4 while Cinergy jumped 15/16 to 33 7/8.
  • Shares of Eastman Kodak (EK) could rise to 100, Barron's said in a bullish article this weekend. On Friday, Eastman Kodak's shares fell 1 5/16 to 84 3/4.
  • British Petroleum's (BP) - Get Report could give DuPont's (DD) - Get Report shares a boost as DuPont looks to get out of the energy business, according to today's Heard on the Street column in The Wall Street Journal. DuPont hasn't found the right buyer for its Conoco unit, and instead will sell a 20% stake in a public offering in October, the Journal said. However, DuPont somewhere down the road hopes to eventually sell or spin off the rest of the shares, the Journal said.
  • The chief executive of Tellabs (TLAB) , Michael Birck, was quoted in today's editions of USA Today saying "the odds would seem against" his company and Ciena (CIEN) - Get Report completing at the current terms their planned merger. The newspaper said that Tellabs was almost certain to press Ciena to renegotiate the deal, which currently calls for shares to be exchanged at parity. Birck told the newspaper that he and Ciena CEO Patrick Nettles talked twice over the weekend and were still committed to doing the deal. Ciena's shares fell 45% Friday after AT&T (T) - Get Report told Ciena it wouldn't test one of its products. Tellabs shares rose 9% on the news, which TSC explored in a pair of stories Friday.