Wall Street's newsreel was quiet Tuesday morning, as the market held its breath in anticipation of a rumored interest rate cut from the
Federal Reserve this week. The drone of interest-rate-cut rumors has been mounting since last Friday's weak employment report.
Investors are also waiting anxiously on earnings from mobile-phone heavy-hitter
, due after today's stock market close. The absence of an expected earnings warning from European telecom
could be generating optimism about Motorola's report. Marconi's "news" was helping to lift European telecom stocks, which were, in turn, driving a rally on the major European indices.
U.S. futures and the major European indices were bidding one another higher, and after closing with modest gains yesterday, U.S. stocks were readying for an Ironman open.
At 7:51 a.m.,
S&P 500 futures, which track the broad market, were up 11.3 points, about 17 points above
fair value as calculated by
, pointing to a powerful open.
futures, which track big-cap tech stocks, were up 42 points, about 44 points above fair value, as calculated by
, so expect a hearty run-up at this morning's open. Thinly traded
Dow futures were up 85 points. Fair value is usually a good gauge of how stocks will trade in early action.
Nearly all things tech and telecom were trading higher in preopen trading this morning -- among them, Motorola and its rival
, communications giant
, PC maker
and chip goliath
But wireless communications maker
could get the saw this morning. The stock was the subject of selling in after-hours trading last night despite
reporting earnings that met analyst estimates. Sawtek supplies firms like Motorola and
with electronic components that enhance the quality of wireless phone transmissions. The firm reported that its second-quarter earnings fell 26% from the year ago period to $9.3 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter -- in line with Wall Street's consensus estimates. Back in February, the company said it expected to earn between 22 cents and 24 cents per share, lower than its previous projection of 29 cents per share.
So much attention is focused on Motorola, because it kicks off the tech-earnings season today, and because of grave concerns over liquidity at the company. Motorola -- the first of the three major mobile-phone makers to report -- has lowered its estimates for the quarter twice already, and some analysts say it could be the company's worst quarter in 16 years.
The bulls are hoping Motorola will say everything is okay. Even better would be a some sign that it's beginning to see a light at the end of the earnings tunnel. After PC-maker
confirmed its first quarter earnings targets last week, and Internet retailer
raised its first-quarter performance targets yesterday, some think the earnings disaster of recent months could be bottoming out.
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The treasury market slumped this morning as the U.S. stock market prepped for a rally. The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note was down 11/32 to 100 7/32, yielding 4.971%.
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The major European indices turned higher as they approached midsession, lifted by improving preopen sentiment in the U.S. on the heels of Amazon.com's earnings surprise. Strength in telcos and oil stocks countered losses in banking stocks, and the
was lately up 34.3 to 5635.8. Across the Channel, the Paris
was gaining 55.1 to 5194.8. Frankfurt's
was gaining a meatier 88.6 points, putting the index at to 5787.5.
The euro was lately trading at $0.8945.
Asian markets tanked, again, overnight. Continuing disappointment over, and a lack of confidence in, an emergency economic aid package released by the Japanese government, Japanese investors sold stocks for a second day. Tokyo's
slumped 542, or 4.05%, to close at 12,841.8. Hong Kong's stock market also suffered losses, and the key
lost 184.5 to end the day's trading at 12,202.1.
The dollar was trading at 124.5 yen.
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