Timing is everything. After yesterday's blah day on Wall Street, news from the

Semiconductor Industry Association

that semiconductor sales are expected to

grow 37% couldn't have come at a better time.

The news got preopen trading on

Instinet

off to a racing start, with

ASM Lithography

(ASML) - Get Report

the second-most active stock. It lately was up 38 cents to $27.69 on 70,000 shares.

The news had

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Rambus

(RMBS) - Get Report

jumping too.

Also, this morning the recently merged

Terra Lycos

(TRLY)

, which just started trading under that name and the "TRLY" ticker Thursday, was up $1.13 to $24.13 on 172,650 shares this morning, and was the most actively traded stock. Wednesday, European analysts initiated buy ratings on the stock, saying the company was going to be a winner in Europe. The company has continued to expand; its European unit announced overnight that it will buy leading Paris-based Web site MultiMania for $191 million.

Also today,

WorldCom

( WCOM) was making a comeback after being the most popular stock on the

Nasdaq

Wednesday for the wrong reasons. The stock

tumbled after it warned of lower-than-expected earnings and said it would create two tracking stocks.

Early futures action was indicating a flat to positive open.

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

lately were up 6 to 1438, about 6 points above fair value as calculated by

Prudential Securities

.

Nasdaq 100

futures were up 32.5 to 3300, about 1 point below fair value as calculated by

TheStreet.com

.

Europe's major indices were tentatively higher going into midsession, with France's

CAC-40

up 0.1%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

up 0.6% and the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

up 0.2%. Japan's

Nikkei 225

lost 0.2% overnight, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

slipped 0.4% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

For Wednesday's postclose trading, see The Night Watch.