(Updated from 9:39 a.m.)
Stocks look set to win back at least some of what was lost yesterday.
You can bet it's not the 13th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash they're celebrating.
The party is being thrown for earnings -- some good ones, finally. And some market watchers think yesterday's market will prove to be the bottom.
After the worst preannouncement season this year bit a black hole in stocks for September and October, investors have been hoping this earnings season would bring some positive surprises. And some stock buying. With the pace of economic growth slowing, investors are worried about how much corporate earnings are slowing in synch.
Last night, some of the market's biggest technology and telecom names reported great numbers, including software and computer application mammoth
, Internet king fisher
Computer-makers have been getting whipped of late on fears of a slowdown in PC demand, so the positive outlook for that business from Microsoft should help investor sentiment today.
took a look at Microsoft's numbers and its outlook for future quarters in a
Also helpful are positive analyst comments on Microsoft and a
. Sun reported
strong earnings on Wednesday.
did not impress, coming out with
earnings lower than the already lowered forecasts. That's gotta hurt, especially when you're the CEO or an investor.
took a look at Apple's earnings in a
separate piece . And
earnings per share estimates for fourth quarter and the full year.
It's not clear whether yesterday's action marked a bottom. On the one hand, the blue-chip
Dow Jones Industrial Average did tank over 400 points at the open, and the tech-heavy
Nasdaq Composite Index fell more than 200 points, but then again, both indices rebounded robustly and ended down only moderately for the day. The trading session had exorbitant volume and high volatility.
Dan Colarusso took a look at how the earnings party was crashed by some
rude guests who dragged down the market.
Whether or not a swift upward kick at the open today will hold is another question.
report of strong cell-phone handset sales should give a boost to the telecom sector today since concern over a slowdown in this area has put immense pressure on telecom stocks since early September. Many of Nokia's competitors had earlier predicted slowing growth in the mobile-phone market and diminishing margins, but some analysts say Nokia has more credibility in the market. Nokia's profits for the period rose 43% to 1.34 billion euros ($1.13 billion), well above analysts' expectations of around 1.10 billion euros. Earnings per share increased to 0.19 euros compared with 0.14 euros a year ago. Nokia's net sales increased by 50% to 7.58 billion euros.
Big earnings reports due today include those from
. For a complete list of the S&P 500 companies that are reporting earnings today, see
Elsewhere, a whole parade of
Federal Reserve guys are speaking today. The king of them all, Chairman
Alan Greenspan already this morning addressed a
conference on Monetary Policy in the New Economy.
The Greenspan speech had no clear implications for near-term monetary policy, and it was friendly in tone. He said the economy is experiencing a "sustained pickup in productivity growth" that should enable it to grow at a faster rate without generating inflation.
Greenspan spoke at length about the implications of the spike in oil prices, acknowledging again that high energy prices could slow growth by acting as a tax on consumers. He implied that slowing growth more likely is coming from high energy prices than from rising inflation expectations. "
The Fed will need to be on the alert for oil-driver, indeed, energy-driven, risks to our expansion."
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The benchmark 10-year
Treasury, the price of which has been driven higher as investors seek safety from turbulent equity markets, was up 5/32 at 100 18/32, yielding 5.673%.
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European markets were getting a lift from strength in telecom stocks following Nokia's earnings. Tech stocks were also rising.
was up 94.50 to 6242.70.
in Paris was up 106.98 to 6044.33, while the
in Frankfurt was 111.92 higher to 6594.92.
The beleaguered euro steadied after the ECB decided to leave interest rates unchanged. The euro was lately trading at 0.8419.
Asian equity markets closed lower Thursday, as technology shares in Taiwan experienced a particularly nasty drop.
Amid political uncertainty at home and lacking support from Wall Street, Taipei's
index plummeted 351.0, or 6.5%, to 5081.3. Many stocks dropped the market's daily maximum of 7%.
erased early gains to drop 61.4, or 0.4%, to close at 14,811.1
In Tokyo trading, the dollar traded down to 107.90 yen. The greenback was lately trading higher to 108.53.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong's
index fell 36.0, or 0.3%, to 14,422.5, as banking heavyweight
fell HK$2.00, or 1.9%, to 105.00 ($13.47) and
rose HK$0.70, or 1.4%, to 49.70.
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