The market is biding its time, waiting for the results of today's
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting, which for the first time in a while contains a bit of drama.
The level of drama doesn't center on whether or not the Fed will raise interest rates, of course -- the vast majority of analysts don't expect that -- but the question bouncing around the brains of many is whether or not the Fed will adopt a tightening bias.
Ahead of the results of the FOMC meeting -- which are expected around 2:15 p.m. EDT -- the major market averages were slightly higher after spending the morning trading in a relatively narrow range.
Jay Suskind, head of institutional equity trading at
, said that even if the Fed adopts a tightening bias, he thinks that after an initial knee-jerk reaction by the market -- although he said he didn't know which direction that initial reaction would be -- the market will close up on the day.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 37 to 10,890, led by earnings-estimate beater
. H-P was up 6.6%.
was up 4 to 1343. The
was up 2 to 443.
Nasdaq Composite Index
was up 6 to 2568.
PC makers were sporting solid gains. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
was up 2.1%.
While the FOMC get-together has most of the market's attention, Suskind also said people were also awaiting the release of
earnings report, expected after the close.
Dell was up 5/8 to 43 13/16 and was most active on the
Nasdaq Stock Market
with 16.9 million shares changing hands. The 31-analyst
consensus estimate calls for Dell to earn 16 cents a share in the first quarter.
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
was up 0.4%. The
Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35
was up 0.8%. The
was down 0.2%.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was down 0.4%.
Retailers were sporting sizable gains. The
S&P Retail Index
was up 2.3%.
Suskind noted volume was light again today, as it has been the last few days.
New York Stock Exchange
, advancers were outpacing decliners 1,507 to 1,299 on 379 million shares. On the Nasdaq, winners were beating losers 1,895 to 1,732 on 464 million shares.
On the NYSE, 26 issues had set new 52-week highs while 23 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 54 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 22.
On the Big Board,
was most active, with 10.5 million shares changing hands. It was down 5/8 to 135 1/2.
As for the Treasury market, the 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 15/32 to 91 14/32, yielding 5.86%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Stephen Shobin, chief technical analyst at Lehman Brothers, said he thinks supply might be the bogeyman of the bond market, not the inflation fears that have pounded bonds lately. Shobin noted that acquirers have issued debt to pay for their purchases in the feverish M&A activity of the last couple of months -- a situation that is likely to continue for a while and that will keep pressure on bonds.
He sees a maximum yield on the long bond of 6.10%. Ultimately, he said, Treasury yields will drop as the supply pressure eases.
Meanwhile, among the other indices, the
Dow Jones Utility Average
was off a fraction. The
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
was up 0.2%. The
Dow Jones Transportation Average
was down 0.5%.
Tuesday's Midday Movers
Hewlett-Packard was climbing 5 7/8, or 6.6%, to 94 9/16 after last night reporting second-quarter earnings of 88 cents a share, 8 cents above the 20-analyst estimate and higher than the year-ago 65 cents.
took a look at H-P's report in a story
last night. This morning,
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
raised its price target for the stock to 110 from 90.
Credit Suisse First Boston
increased its 1999 earnings estimate for H-P to $3.45 from $3.35 a share, and
lifted its 1999 view to $3.50 from $3.45 and its 2000 view to $4 from $3.90.
In other news:
was up 7 11/16, or 8.5%, to 98 1/2 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter raised its price target to 120 from 95.
was up 2 11/16, or 16.3%, to 18 3/4 after Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to a near-term buy, naming it the firm's Focus One stock of the week.
was down 3 3/4, or 11%, to 30 3/8 after late yesterday warning that its 1999 results will be hurt by a delay in the launch of several satellites. The company said it needs to correct defects in parts supplied by vendors. The 13-analyst view called for annual earnings of $1.17 a share vs. the year-ago 83 cents.
was up 3 7/8 to 118 1/16 after saying it will go ahead with its 2-for-1 stock split after obtaining approval from shareholders.
St. Paul Bancorp
was up 1 11/16, or 6.8%, to 26 3/8 after
Charter One Financial
announced last yesterday it was buying the company for $1.2 billion in stock. Charter One will swap 0.95 of a share for each share of St. Paul. Charter One was down 1 3/4, or 5.7%, to 29.
was up 2 1/4, or 7.9%, to 30 7/8 after
BT Alex. Brown
started coverage with a buy.
was up 10 3/16, or 39.5%, to 36 1/16 after privately held
, a rail, truck and auto parts maker, launched a $35-a-share hostile bid for the company. Varlen said it will review the offer.
was up 3 3/8, or 46.6%, to 10 15/16 after posting first-quarter earnings of 39 cents a share vs. the year-ago loss of $1.78. The company also said it plans to announce major new relationships in capital equipment and distribution services this year.
was up 1 1/4, or 5.7%, to 23 3/16 after last night reporting third-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, topping the six-analyst prediction of 33 cents and the year-ago 32 cents.
was up 2 to 60 7/16 after recording first-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, topping the 22-analyst estimate of 28 cents and moving up from the year-ago 22 cents.
was up 6 5/16, or 13.8%, to 52 after posting first-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, beating the 15-analyst estimate by 7 cents but falling below the year-ago 64 cents.
was down 2 9/16, or 16.3%, to 13 1/8 after last night missing first-quarter estimates for earnings of 21 cents a share with a loss of 6 cents.