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(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

America Online


and telecom




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

separate story.

Also helpful are positive analyst comments on Microsoft and a

Bear Stearns

upgrade on

Sun Microsystems


. Sun reported

strong earnings on Wednesday.

Still, computer-maker



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

Goldman Sachs


Texas Instruments


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.'s

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.

Meanwhile, Nokia's

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's



Elsewhere, a whole parade of

Federal Reserve guys are speaking today. The king of them all, Chairman

Alan Greenspan already this morning addressed a

Cato Institute

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.


FTSE 100

was up 94.50 to 6242.70.


CAC 40

in Paris was up 106.98 to 6044.33, while the

Xetra Dax

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.

The major

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%.


Nikkei 225

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

Hang Seng

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

China Mobile


rose HK$0.70, or 1.4%, to 49.70.

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