Stocks look to open weak this morning as futures are just about as ugly as they have been for the last few weeks.
S&P 500 June futures contract was down 8.5, about 10 points below fair value. But, even worse, the
June futures contract was off 68.5. Limit down on the Nasdaq futures is currently -110, so things
still look worse for tech.
So far this morning, though, there's little happening in the market to explain this bad a start. When that happens, it often means that there is just little confidence in the overall market.
That lack of confidence this week seems driven by the fact that, despite the
FOMC's aggressive 50-basis-point hike in the fed funds rate this Tuesday, few believe that the
Fed is done raising rates. While most are expecting the FOMC to leave rates alone at the next meeting, there is far less certainty about the meeting in August.
Being a Friday, there are no major earnings announcements and next week's slate of earnings looks very light. But, several tech names look like they will be struggling at the open. According to
are all trading lower before the bell.
One of the things that is likely to magnify any problems today is a continuing dearth of volume.
has been keeping its eye on
this issue and wrote about it yesterday.
Yesterday's After-Hours Trading
Perhaps after-hours trading is a parallel universe created to balance the day session. Typically what is red by day turns green by night and vice versa as renegade evening investors play the contrarian card.
Perhaps that is why
green leaves turned red after dark on what appears to be cheerful financial news.
Massachusetts-based Sycamore develops intelligent optical networking products that transport voice and data traffic over wavelengths of light.
Last year, its IPO broke records for first day performance in U.S. markets. Going into tonight's earnings release, it rallied 6 1/16, or 7%, to 92 9/16. But when third-quarter results came in at 5 cents a share and beat analyst consensus estimates by two pennies, traders balked. The company's first foray into the land of profitability and revenue growth of 104% over the second quarter was punished. The company's expansion of its international business, with new contracts signed with Asian and European distributors, was shrugged off.
There were no message board rumors to undermine trading. Late-night lurkers simply didn't have a green thumb, and Sycamore shriveled 3 11/16 to 89 1/16 on 69,000
shares. It dropped 2 9/64 to 90 7/64 on 104,000
found succor in financial results released after the bell. Coincidentally, the Maryland-based company also makes optical networking equipment.
Ciena posted second-quarter earnings of 12 cents a share, above the 19-analyst estimate of 10 cents and the year-ago loss of 1 cent a share. The company attributed the robust performance to increased customer demand for rapid delivery of its optical networking equipment.
The company's stock lost 5% of its value during the day, but the evening marched to a different drum, sending Ciena up 2 3/64 to 139 31/64 on 87,000 Island shares.
Both companies had good news, but Ciena also announced that its new product, the industry's first intelligent optical core switch, was in trials with seven service providers. Two of those customers have already agreed to purchase the product. Perhaps that was the difference.
While it is a sure bet that most after-hours auctioneers don't know what a optical core switch is, that fact that it is the first of its kind in the industry must be good news.
Supermarket chain owner
got cut off at the knees as it continues trying to climb out of the bankruptcy hole it left in August 1998.
, a risk ratings agency, downgraded the rating outlook to negative from positive after the company reported weaker-than-expected financial results this Tuesday.
The news of the downgrade came out this morning, but day participants rocked the stock up 3/16, or 20%, to 1 1/8. It stayed in negative territory for most of the evening, but lately it stalled at 1 1/8 after 290,000 shares were traded on Island.
was reborn on the top of Island's most-active list after this morning's news that it launched a new Web site. The business and technology consulting company has helped remedy the dearth of Web sites with its new online location that allows people to do business and get information and services from thousands of government agencies.
You fill in the blank: By day Renaissance bounced 5/16, or 15%, to 2 1/2. Night traders sent it (insert answer here) 1/4 to 2 1/4 on 320,000 Island shares. If you guessed "down," you are getting the hang of this game.
What is more heartwarming or personalized that expressing your emotions online?
, a company that sends special messages via the Web, announced that it will be service provider for
online card services.
Free online cards offer an alternative to the expensive paper sort, but be warned, they are "viral" in nature. Each time you send a digital greeting, the recipient is seen as a potential new user by Egreetings. In September 1999, its Web site was visited more than 9.6 million times, visitors to its Web site viewed over 98 million Web pages and consumers used its service to send over 3.4 million digital greetings. But remember aggressive and invasive marketing is just another way of saying "I love you."
Traders showed the company they cared by lifting it 2 5/8 to 5 on more than 46,000 Island shares.
Fiber fired up the night as oft-traded
, rose xx to xx on xx shares, perhaps on the fervor created by a competitor. Today,
went public and gained 155% to close at 51. In a hostile IPO environment, this impressive debut only underscores the exuberant demand for fiber-optic names.
JDS Uniphase also announced today the departure of its CEO and co-chairman, Kevin Kalkhoven, to be replaced by Jozef Straus, the company's president and COO.
The stock traded 7/8 higher to 87 7/16 on 17,000 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 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.
explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.