Preopen Trading: Sprint's Gain Stands Out in Thin Action

Sprint is gaining on news of preliminary merger talks with Deutsche Telekom. Futures are noncommittal on light volume.
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(Updated from 6:51 a.m. EDT)

It's oh so quiet in preopen trading, with few stocks trading ahead of the holiday.

On

Instinet

, telecoms were still getting some action with

Sprint

(FON)

up 2 1/4 to 53 1/4 on 4,000 shares on news that even though its deal with

WorldCom

(WCOM)

may fall through, another suitor in

Deutsche Telecom

(DT) - Get Report

is knocking at its door.

Unisys

(UIS) - Get Report

was recovering a bit after falling 38% last week on news that it would miss second-quarter estimates. The stock was lately trading up 3/16 to 14 3/4 on 5,400 shares. Also

Biomarin Pharmaceuticals

(BMRN) - Get Report

was up 1/4 to 17 1/4 on 4,000 shares.

Broadcom

(BRCM)

was losing some ground after making big gains last week. It was down 2 11/16 to 216 1/4 after rising 14 on Friday.

The

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

lately were up 4 to 1472, matching

fair value.

Nasdaq 100

futures were down 7 to 3810.

Europe's major indices were higher, with France's

CAC 40

up 0.5%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

was barely up 0.1% and the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

up 0.6%. Japan's

Nikkei 225

was 1.2% higher overnight, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

slipped 0.2% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

U.S. Stocks in Europe: Telecom Shares Rally in Light Trading

LONDON -- With little action ahead of the July 4th holiday, last week's themes lingered in Europe Monday morning like a hangover.

Sprint

(FON)

, which had been trading higher last week on speculation that it would consider merging with

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

should its deal with

WorldCom

(WCOM)

fall flat, continued to gain Monday morning on news that it had held preliminary discussions with the German telco. Sprint Shares rose 50 European cents, or 0.92%, to 55 euros ($52.21) in Germany Monday morning. (Like many U.S. stocks Sprint shares are listed on several foreign exchanges.) Deutsche Telekom also gained 93 European cents, or 1.57%, to 60 euros.

Investors were in a jolly enough mood to push shares of WorldCom, which were up 50 European cents, or 1.06%, to 47.50 euros, higher as well despite uncertainty over whether the company will be able to scramble for a new merger partner, especially one that would give it a wireless footprint, should the Sprint deal collapse for certain.

Even

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

, the wireless communications technology provider that has seen its shares drop nearly 25% over the last three weeks, saw some interest. Concerns have centered on a slowdown of chip sales in South Korea, Qualcomm's biggest customer, as well as a less certain future for its code division multiple access, or CDMA, technology in China. Monday its shares traded up 30 European cents, or 0.48%, to 63.30 euros.

Not all telecom shares were rallying, however. Shares of

Motorola

(MOT)

traded down 65 European cents, or 2.07%, to 30.80 euros.

One London dealer who asked not to be named warned against reading too much into the movement, either positive or negative, since volume was extremely light.

Another sector heading higher was biotech, fueled in part by the human genome project, as well as anticipated earnings that should meet or exceed analyst estimates.

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

traded up 2 euros, or 2.76%, to 74.50, while

Biogen

(BGEN)

gained 1.50 euros, or 2.25%, to 68.20 euros.

The broader market appeared set for a rather flat open. The September

S&P 500 futures contract traded up 4 points to 1472.10 at 6:30 a.m. EDT, or 0.42 points above

fair value. The

Nasdaq 100

futures traded 3 points higher at 3820.