So far, this morning looks almost exactly like yesterday morning.

The major overseas markets are down on profit-taking. The Treasuries are lower. Yet index futures, though down from the Chicago close, are still pointing to a higher open for the stock market. It's hard to believe in that opening strength, though, given that stocks did well in the morning yesterday, only to fall back in the afternoon. Unless some volume gets back into the market, it could be another vague and trendless day.

"It looks like a pretty quiet opening," said Bill Meehan, market analyst at

Cantor Fitzgerald

.

Though he remains bearish on the market's long-term prospects, Meehan thinks that stocks may do well through earnings season. "I see a lot of groups that appear to have upside technically," he said. "I've been telling trading accounts to buy pullbacks in some of the large-cap techs in general and some of the Internets in particular."

At 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were off 3.5 -- still fractionally above fair value. The 30-year Treasury was down 9/32 to 88 29/32, putting the yield at 6.06%.

Tokyo's

Nikkei

fell 91.83 to 17,958.90 as investors booked gains in big-cap stocks. Until there are fresh incentives to buy, it looks like the index will have a little trouble with the 18,000 level.

Two major share placements sent Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

down 115.17 to 14,257.44.

China Telecom

sold a 1.3% stake in

Cable & Wireless HKT

, and

China Resources Enterprises

announced a 137.1 million-share secondary offering. Over the past two years, while the Hong Kong stock market suffered, many companies held off on secondary offerings. Now that things are looking better, firms are anxious to raise capital.

Europe's major bourses were all lower. In Frankfurt, the

Xetra Dax

was down 46.95 to 5565.95. In Paris, the

CAC

was off 41.18 to 4651.33. And in London, the

FTSE

was 48.2 lower at 6572.4.

Wednesday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Brian Louis

Staff Reporter

  • Cox Communications (COX) will exchange its 50.3 million AT&T (T) - Get Report shares for AT&T cable-television systems that serve about 495,000 customers and about $750 million in "other consideration, including cash." Based on Tuesday's closing price of AT&T, the deal is valued at about $2.85 billion.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average component Alcoa (AA) - Get Report reported second-quarter earnings of 65 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the First Call 16-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 62 cents. In other news (earnings estimates are from First Call):
  • Pimco Advisors Holdings (PA) , the U.S. bond fund-management firm, is looking into a possible sale of part or all of the company to Allianz, a big German insurer, in a deal that could be valued at as much as $5 billion, The Wall Street Journal Europe reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
  • RCN (RCNC) and Lycos (LCOS) set an alliance to collaborate on a number of Internet-based initiatives, including the development of high-speed content to be deployed over RCN's fiber-optic network.
  • U S West (USW) is seeking to structure a potential combination with Qwest Communications (QWST) as a merger of equals, The Wall Street Journal Europe reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
  • New Era of Networks (NEON) - Get Report warned it will report a second-quarter loss of 12 cents to 22 cents share, significantly below the nine-analyst prediction for a repeat of the year-ago profit of 12 cents.
  • Waste Management (WMI) warned it sees second-quarter earnings of 67 cents to 70 cents a share, which would miss the 14-analyst forecast for 78 cents but top the year-ago 41 cents.
  • Yahoo! (YHOO) will report earnings today. The 21-analyst estimate predicts Yahoo! will earn 8 cents a share.
  • ARM Holdings (ARMHY) , a British microchip designer, confirmed it is in talks with several licensees, including Texas Instruments (TXN) - Get Report.
  • barnesandnoble.com (BNBN) launched an online music store.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Corporate Finance sent a comment letter in January to Elan (ELN) , an Irish pharmaceutical company, raising questions about its accounting, especially in the area of research and development, the Heard on the Street column in The Wall Street Journal reported. Comment letters are sent out as part of SEC staff reviews of company filings, but usually aren't made public, the newspaper said. Elan said it has been in talks with the SEC about the issues raised in the comment letter and that it has resolved most of those issues, the newspaper said. Asked if the resolution of the issues with the SEC would force the company to restate its earnings, Thomas G. Lynch, the company's CFO, is quoted as saying: "I do not believe so," according to the article. TheStreet.com last month explored the accounting issues at Elan.
  • Intimate Brands (IBI) July same-store sales rose 15% from a year ago.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Miscellany

Analyst actions