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Rent-Way (RWY) shares were tanking prior to the open after the company disclosed yesterday that it expects to slash 2000 earnings by as much as 52%.

The company -- which rents TVs, furniture, home appliances and other big-ticket items consumers might have a tought time buying -- suspended its corporate controller after discovering potential accounting irregularities. What's more, its president and COO, Jeffrey Conway, has voluntarily given up his duties. The stock was down $15.81 to $7.63, a 67% drop, on 9,400



Shares of



, the French telecommunications company, are rallying sharply in preopen action after the company reported earnings of 22 cents a share early this morning. The stock was trading at $63, up $5.88, according to Instinet.

Alcatel and Rent-Way aside, preopen activity was calm. The futures contracts are moving higher heading into the open, an indication that yesterday's strong rally will continue at today's opening bell. The

S&P 500 futures were lately traded at 1413.5, about five points above fair value calculated by

Prudential Securities

. The

Nasdaq 100

futures are at 3155.5, nearly 49 points above fair value, calculated by

, indicating some buying interest at the open in the technology-heavy Nasdaq, which lost 87 points yesterday.

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(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

, which lost 5% yesterday after

Lehman Brothers

trimmed its price target, was the most active in preopen trading, gaining 44 cents on 41,000



Nortel Networks


was up 63 cents to $40.63. Semiconductor maker


(XLNX) - Get Xilinx, Inc. Report

gained $3.13 to $70 on no news.

European markets were stronger. Paris'

CAC 40

rose 56.65 to 6353.49; Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

rose 61.79 to 6988.36; London's

FTSE 100

rose 69.9 to 6458.3.

Asian markets rallied. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

gained 95.44 to 14895.34, and Tokyo's

Nikkei 225

rose 75.04 to 14539.60.

For more on post-market action, see Thursday's

The Night Watch.