The futures are pointing to strength for the U.S. market despite a mixed picture overseas.

The

S&P 500 futures

on

Globex

lately were up 0.5 to 1530.7, more than 5 points above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were down 2.4 to 4660.1.

France's

CAC 40

continued its recent strong performance, lately up 0.6%, but the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

was down 0.8% and Germany's

Xetra Dax

was off 0.2%.

Overnight in Asia, Japan's

Nikkei 225

leapt 1.6% to its best close since 1996, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

stumbled 1.1% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

In preopen

Instinet

trading,

Palm

(PALM)

was up 1 3/16 to 56 on last night's upside earnings surprise, while

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

was off 1 1/8 to 58 1/2 from yesterday's composite close despite announcing the record-breaking size of its planned wireless-unit IPO.

Yesterday's After-Hours Trading

By Eric Gillin
Staff Reporter

What's the

Palm

(PALM)

reading?

Sweaty. Investors were skittish about the company's earnings line in this evening's postclose trading. Just after the news hit, Palm soared more than 3 points before falling into the red. Over on

Instinet

, where it stopped trading at 6:30 p.m. EST, the company was last up 5/16 to 55 1/8 on 114,000 shares. Meanwhile, on

Island

, where trading continued until 8 p.m., Palm hit bottom and bounced to the top, ending the evening back where it started, up 2 1/8 to 57 on 90,000 shares.

After the bell, Palm released third-quarter pro forma earnings of 3 cents a share, beating last year's pro forma 2 cents a share and the

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate of a penny.

And along with these digits, Palm predicted its future. The company said its fiscal 2001 gross margin would be lower than 2000's, while its fourth-quarter sales would come in between $280 million to $295 million. In comparison, this quarter's revenue were $272 million.

Ahead of the earnings release, during the day session, Palm faltered 9/16 to 54 13/16.

Elsewhere among the large-cap tech names,

Qualcomm

TST Recommends

(QCOM) - Get Report

continued to knock the cover off the baseball on a day when most of the market was striking out. After gaining 5 7/8 to 154 13/16 during the day, it was last up 3 1/4 to 157 3/4 on 45,000 shares on Island and 2 11/16 to 157 1/2 on 51,000 shares on Instinet.

After taking a lap

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was last seen walking off its 7-point day-session loss during the night shift. The chipmaker rose 7/16 to 136 1/8 on 113,000 shares on Instinet and 1 5/16 to 136 13/16 on 14,000 shares on Island.

Late day Microsoft-ness spoiled

Bill Gates

bid for a big day. Well, he can cheer up.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

chased today's disappointing 1/4-point gain with a jump of 15/16 to 105 1/4 on 113,000 shares on Instinet. It was up 1 1/64 to 105 7/16 on 20,000 shares on Island.

Five robotic lions don't form up and create

Ventro

(VNTR) - Get Report

, although that would be way cool. Ventro also isn't the name of a

G.I. Joe

villain or an infomercial product.

It's a publicly traded company that bills itself as a builder and operator of vertical business-to-business e-commerce marketplace companies. And today,

the company formerly known as

Chemdex

took the kind of hit that

Joe Theismann

still sees in his sleep.

Ventro dropped 19 to 79 during the day session as B2B plays broadly gave up the ghost. This evening, it rose 5 1/4 to 83 on 20,000 shares on Island and 2 3/4 to 81 3/4 on 179,000 shares on Instinet.

But still, listen to

LL Cool J

. Don't call it a comeback. No, seriously. Don't.

This company has had a terrible run lately, coughing up two-thirds of its closing stock price on Feb. 25 -- more than 160 points over 22 trading sessions.

It's been a long, strange trip. Just over one month ago, B2B names were scorching and Ventro sprang from life sciences e-tailer Chemdex. The company renamed itself and began work as an e-commerce B2B incubation play. Investors rallied around the flag and sent the newly christened VNTR to the top of the heap until it hit a peak of 239 13/16.

Since then, the company has dropped steadily and often. It took a heavy hit on March 6, as Ventro and some of its shareholders sold a combined 1.825 million shares. A week later, news of a software deal between Ventro and

webMethods

(WEBM)

, the kind of news that can help out a trendy B2B company, actually hurt the company.

Tonight's move into the black helps, though.

Misery loves company. So let's look at Emulex, shall we?

This company designs, develops and distributes networking gear. And today, it was the biggest Nasdaq net loser, falling 57 1/8 to 160 15/16. This company got taken out by profit-taking and momentum.

Its intraday chart looks strikingly similar to Ventro's. Both opened lower and then steadily slid as the day wore on, forming a nearly straight path that cuts downward at a 30-degree angle. Once the selling began, it didn't stop until the final bell pealed. Both ended at or around session lows.

Tonight, Emulex continued to bleed, falling 1 5/16 to 159 5/8 on 29,000 shares on Island.

Two miserable people might be bad company, but add

Legato Systems

(LGTO)

and you've got a crowd of losers. It was last off 2 5/16 to 41 on 20,000 shares on Island after falling 2 5/16 to 43 3/8 during the day.

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.

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.