Preopen Trading: Futures Slightly Positive; Chinadotcom Up Big

Qualcomm and priceline.com are among the other issues gaining ground before the open, but broad-market indications are mixed.
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The U.S. futures are moderately positive so far this morning, trying to follow through on yesterday's late-session rally. European bourses have been more consistently inspired.

The

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

lately were up 3.9 to 1405.6, about a point above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were up 22.75 to 3190.25.

Midsession in Europe, France's

CAC 40

was up 2%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

was up 1.8% and the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

was up 1.2%, (see today's

European Midday Update for more). Overnight in Asia, Japan's

Nikkei 225

hopped 1.3%, but Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

reaped no benefit from yesterday's

House

passage of the China trade bill, edging down 0.1% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

In preopen

Instinet

trading,

Chinadotcom

(CHINA)

was up a strong 4 3/4 to 31 3/4, albeit on a scant 100 shares. The stock was more active on

Island

, trading at 31 1/2 on 3,000 shares.

Elsewhere on Island,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

was up 4 to 80 3/4 on 1,750 shares in a spillover from the China news and a Japanese wireless initiative.

priceline.com

(PCLN)

also improved, up 3 1/4 to 39 3/4 on 300 Island shares after announcing a name-your-own-price offering for phone service.

Last Night's After-Hours Trading

By Angela Privin
Staff Reporter

As the

House of Representatives

prepared to vote on the fate of doing business with China (it passed), two Chinese companies climbed to the top of

Island

ECN's most-active list, awaiting the decision in the green.

After the House decided to enact permanent normal trade relations with China,

Chinadotcom

(CHINA)

, which trades domestically on the Nasdaq, exploded. It was lately floating up 4 11/16, a gain of about 13%, to 31 11/16 on 400,000 Island shares.

China Prosperity International Holdings

(CPIH)

also felt lucky, climbing 1 5/16 on 2300,000 Island shares, a big move for a stock now at 10 3/4.

Chinadotcom announced this afternoon the promotion of Stuart Spiteri to managing director of regional operations and business development of subsidiary, 24/7 Media Asia. After the news, the company finished the session up 11/16, or 2.6%, to 27.

On the other side of the ledger, China Prosperity International, a Hong Kong-based construction company, did not have a good day session. Mainstream investors shied away from uncertainty and political rhetoric and were largely unkind to Chinese ADR issues.

But the difference between night and day traders is like, well, night and day. As day traders sometimes exercise caution, the evening crew banks on the optimism of their fellow night lurkers.

Profit-taking is another popular after-hours activity. Last night,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

was off, but it bounced 9% today, causing many to cash in on their good luck. Lately, the tech megastar was slinking 1/64 lower to 55 on 74,000 Island shares. Traders who bought

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

also filled their pockets, after the stock gained 5% today. After being down most of the session it was lately trading unchanged at 83 1/4.

Because of questionable human rights practices, every year China was reviewed for normal trade status, which grants China low trade restrictions the U.S. offers to most countries. The passage of permanent status means that China will forever reap these trade benefits instead of finding itself at the mercy of the U.S. government every year.

Not only is this good news for Chinese companies, but also for domestic technology and wireless companies that have their eye on the enormous Chinese market.

Wireless powerhouse

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

had a down day, but fell over itself after the decisions as it ran up 5 55/64 to 82 39/64 on 120,000 shares on Instinet and 5 5/8 big ones to 82 3/8 on 150,000 Island shares.

Adding to Qualcomm's enthusiasm was the post-bell announcement that it will join

Nippon Idou Tsushin

and

Hitachi

in testing a new type of wireless technology in Japan.

BroadVision

(BVSN) - Get Report

and

Ericsson

(ERICY)

were not far behind in their celebration of opportunity, climbing 1 1/8 to 36 on 39,000 Island shares and 1 3/8 to 19 7/8 on 33,000 Island shares.

Costco

(COST) - Get Report

was bulking up, but not on Chinese fever, like the rest of the gang. The wholesale retailer was seen rummaging in aisle seven for some family sized extra-strength bottles of aspirin to dull the pains of the day.

After dropping more than 21% today, when it missed analyst earnings expectations and warned that profits might dwindle in this and coming quarters, the stock was a relative bargain.

Late-night traders lifted Costco shares 1/8 to 32 on 18,000 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 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.

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.