Preopen Trading: Investors See Buying Opportunities

On the day after the Nasdaq falls below 3000 for the first time in more than a year, markets are getting set to move higher.
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The big ol' market mood ring was glowing green this morning, as overseas markets traded higher and futures at home were solidly higher. Wall Street looked set to open on the plus side. Now that's news.

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S&P 500

futures on

Globex

were up 8.10 to 1366.90, which puts them 9 points above

fair value as calculated by

Prudential Securities

. Futures for large cap tech

Nasdaq 100

futures were up 69 to 2896.5, 43 higher than fair value as calculated by

TheStreet.com

. Globex is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's electronic trading system and it specializes in futures. Fair value helps gauge how stocks will trade in early going.

Futures today are a pretty positive sign, considering that the

Nasdaq Composite Index posted its sixth straight day of losses yesterday. Despite a late-afternoon rally, it moved lower again to end the day lower and close below 3,000 for the first time since November 1999. Usually, weakness at the close of trading is a harbinger of bad things to come. Judging by futures trading this morning, the market has shrugged off those bad vibes.

European markets were solidly higher, showing optimism among traders overseas. With the outcome of the presidential election set to continue their uncertain road for the near future, it seems folks across the pond have begun to go about the business of doing business. Lately, European markets have been tentative ahead of the opening of American markets, choosing to await direction from U.S. market moves.

That was not the case this morning. London's

FTSE

was up 66.1 to 6340.9 at midsession. The

CAC

in Paris rose 80.9 to 6118.6, while Germany's

Xetra Dax

rose 81.2 to 6823.3.

Asian markets were mixed. Hong Kong had a plus-side tsunami, while Japan looked a little soggy. The

Nikkei 225

slipped 4.6 to 14,660, while the

Hang Seng

rocketed up 361.8, or 2.4%, to 15,177.5.

This week is a big week for domestic retailers, with home improvement giant

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

set to release earnings. Wal-Mart came out with earnings that were in line with analyst expectations. Home Depot reports later today. Like most earnings report this quarter, investors are interested in the amount companies earn per share. But they especially want to know predictions for the all-important Christmas and the entire fourth quarter. Inventory levels are another area to keep an eye on. A glut of merchandise is not a good thing for stores that are headed into the holidays, since that only means they'll have more low-margin sale items and fewer full-price goods. Well, the sales are good for you as a consumer, to be sure, but not really good for retailers who lose money on the deal.

Office supply retailer

Staples

(SPLS)

this morning released third-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share, missing the 21-cent estimate of analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

and the year-ago 20 cents earnings figure. Staples' sales rose 17% to $2.8 billion from the year-ago $2.4 billion. But things aren't really good. Along with the earnings miss, Staples said that it would miss fourth-quarter analyst estimates.

Over on

Instinet

, where stocks can trade even when the market is closed, there was a lot of activity in optical and wireless companies.

Nortel

(NT)

last traded at $40, $1.44 higher than where it closed yesterday.

Ericcson

(ERICY)

last traded at $11.75, 25 cents higher than where it closed yesterday, while

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

last traded at $36, $1.56 higher than where it closed yesterday. Vodafone reported better-than-expected results during the six-month period ended September and was helping to boost the spirit of European investors.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, a good barometer of both the Nasdaq and the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, last traded at $39.25. It closed at $38.19 yesterday in New York.

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