Early indications are positive for U.S. stocks, but that could well change depending on how the Producer Price Index looks at 8:30 a.m. EST.

The

S&P 500 futures

on

Globex

lately were up 4.8 to 1418, about 8 points above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were up 57.5 to 4220.

Germany's

Xetra Dax

was leading a broad rally in European trading at midday, up 1.5%. The U.K.'s

FTSE 100

was up 1.2% and France's

CAC 40

was up 1.1%. Overnight in Asia, Japan's

Nikkei 225

added 0.9%, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

skidded 2.3% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

Preopen news has been scant, with the largest deal being

National-Oilwell's

(NOI)

acquisition of

Iri International

(IIR)

. Neither stock was active in preopen trading.

Last Night's After-Hours Trading

By David A. Gaffen
Staff Reporter

Yeeaaaaaahhh. Death Row in the

house

.

musicmaker.com

(HITS)

had its mind on its money and its money on its mind this afternoon, when the digital music downloading site announced a three-year licensing agreement with Death Row Records, the rap label that spawned Dr. Dre and Calvin "Snoop Doggy Dogg" Broadus (no known relation to Alfred Broaddus, Richmond Fed president).

While Death Row isn't exactly the powerhouse it used to be, catalog music tends to sell well. Users can download music off musicmaker.com's site while sitting back and sipping on gin and juice.

So while Snoop Doggy Dogg is probably out somewhere looking for a jobby job, musicmaker.com's shares were the most actively traded during the night, rising 1/8 to 4 11/32 on 1 million

Island

shares.

Books-A-Million

(BAMM)

, one of those freakazoid old-fashioned book companies that does business in large buildings that are sometimes made of bricks and mortar but sometimes other building materials -- as well as on the web -- reported earnings, and all the traders are sayin', "let it ride."

The company, which operates 180 stores in 17 states, earned 36 cents a share in the fourth quarter, compared with the First Call consensus (just one analyst, actually) for 35 cents a quarter.

The shares, which closed up today, were up 1 19/64 to 8 35/64 on volume of 377,000 on

Island

ECN.

Aastrom Biosciences

(ASTM)

announced this morning that it and the Loyola University Medical Center achieved the first successful transplants of ex vivo-produced (produced outside of the body) human stem cells in breast cancer patients.

What's that mean? Stem cell transplants could be used to restore a patient's blood an immune system, as well as reduce or eliminate the re-infusion of contaminating tumor cells, according to researchers.

Most importantly, this is potentially good news for those suffering with the disease and humankind in general. The stock closed up 2 9/16, a 50% gain, and investors are taking a little off the table in after-hours action, as it's down 1/32 to 7 19/32 on 158,000 Island shares.

Ok, follow all this if you can.

eGlobe

(EGLO)

announced preclose that

i1.com

has acquired

Con-Net Communications

and

Infonetic

.

Let's unwind that. i1 is an e-commerce company through which eGlobe is pursuing the development of e-commerce in Asia. Con-Net Communications and Infonetic are companies providing e-business solutions in China and other Asian markets.

Investors drew out that map and decided they didn't like it, either pre- or post-close. After losing 1 1/8 in Nasdaq trading today, the stock was down 5/8 to 10 11/16 on 115,000 Island shares.

This information is provided by Instinet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reuters (RTRSY) . For further information, please contact Instinet at www.instinet.com.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

.

MarketXT, formerly Eclipse Trading, offers after-hours trading to retail clients of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's (MWD) Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online, Mellon Bank's (MEL) Dreyfus Brokerage Services and clients of Salomon Smith Barney. It is also available to clients of Mydiscountbroker.com, CyBerCorp and Interactive Brokers. Clients can trade 200 of the most actively traded New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market issues, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday.

Confused?

TheStreet.com

explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.