No Rate Hikes in Europe Could Aid Wall Street Open

US West, Qwest, Global Crossing and Frontier agree to make nice.
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In a relatively light weekend of (financial) news, some headlines from an overseas newspaper may carry the day.

The

European Central Bank

will not raise interest rates to support the euro, Spain's

El Mundo

reported Sunday.

"Neither the evolution of money in circulation nor inflation forecasts lead to the conclusion that the current level of rates needs to be changed," the newspaper quoted ECB board member Eugenio Domingo Solans as saying.

The comments should alleviate fears generated by ECB President

Wim Duisenberg

, whose hawkish comments

Thursday roiled the U.S. bond market.

Perhaps in reaction to those comments and to the lack of further escalation of tensions between China and Taiwan over the weekend, Asian bourses got off to a solid start Monday morning. Japan's

Nikkei 225

was up 160.62, or 0.88%. Australia's

All Ordinaries

index was up 16.0, or 0.52%, and New Zealand's

NZSE 40

was up 11.61, or 0.53%.

In other overseas news, the Taiwan state development fund said it completed the sale of 9.8 million American Depositary Receipts, or ADRs, of

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

(TSM) - Get Report

. At an average price of $30.40, the sale raised about $300 million for Taiwan's treasury.

In other news

U S West

(USW)

accepted

Qwest's

(QWST)

$40.5 billion buyout offer, confirming reports circulating Friday on

CNBC

. Also,

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

said it will proceed with its $12.9 billion purchase of

Frontier

(FRO) - Get Report

.

Broadcom

(BRCM)

agreed to acquire

HotHaus Technologies

for $280 million in stock,

Bloomberg

reported.

Late Friday,

SBC Communications

(SBC)

announced a deal with

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

unit

DirecTV

to provide satellite service to its 18 million customers.

Fidelity Federal Bancorp

(FFED)

signed a letter of intent to sell 51% of its common stock to an affiliate of

Lincolnshire Equity Fund II

.

In the Papers

In a shocking development,

Barron's

Alan Abelson

included a positive mention of an Internet stock in his weekly column, specifically

CustomTracks

(CUST)

.

Of course, this uncharacteristic optimism was sandwiched between more typically negative views of

China.com

(CHINA)

and

Lernout & Hauspie

(LHSP)

.

Elsewhere, Scott Satterwhite, manager of the

(ARTSX) - Get Report

Artisan Partners Small-Cap fund, showered bullish praise on insurers

Chicago Title

(CTZ) - Get Report

and

Stewart Information Services

(STC) - Get Report

, as well as cement producers

Giant Cement

(GCHI)

and

Lone Star Industries

(LCE)

.

Brett Robertson, managing partner at

Richmont Investment Management

in Dallas, gave positive mention to

Gleason

(GLE)

,

Whole Foods Market

(WFMI)

,

Hutchinson Technology

(HTCH)

and

B.F. Goodrich

(GR)

. The small-cap value manager had less pleasant things to say about

Innovex

(INVX)

.

Neither Satterwhite nor Robertson made the

Barron's

/

Value Line

list of top-100 mutual fund managers.

The "Follow Up" section of the paper included cautionary tales about declining demand for sports utility vehicles and implications for automakers such as

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

and

Ford

(F) - Get Report

. The section also noted a setback for

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

last week -- a cutback in production money for the F-22 fighter by the

House Appropriations Committee

-- but also mentioned that the company inked a $2.5 billion deal with Israel on Friday for 50 F-16s.

Barron's

also included a positive report on chip-equipment makers, notably industry giant

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

and lesser-known

AMX

(PNJA:Nasdaq). The weekly also featured the slowdown in online-trading growth and potential implications for online brokers such as

Charles Schwab

(SCH)

,

E*Trade

(EGRP)

,

AmeriTrade

(AMTD) - Get Report

,

DLJdirect

(DIR)

and

TD Waterhouse

(TWE)

.

In a similar vein,

The New York Times

reviewed the decline in day-trading activity since the April swoon in Internet stocks. However, the piece was absent much stock-specific insight. In fact, other than

Exodus Communications

(EXDS)

,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

and

Biogen

(BGEN)

-- the picks of

Fidelity Investments

growth fund manager Erin Sullivan -- the Sunday issue was light on "investable" news.

However, a primer on "accounting tricks" was certainly worth the price of admission.