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Stocks look set to win back at least some of what was lost yesterday.

What exactly are investors celebrating? You can bet it's not the 13th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash. Yup, 13 years ago today.

The party is being thrown for earnings. And some good ones. Finally.

After the worst pre-announcement season this year bit a black hole in stocks during September and October, investors have been hoping this earnings season would bring some happy surprises. And some stock buying. With the pace of economic growth slowing, investors are worried about how much corporate earnings are slowing in synch.

Last night, some of the market's biggest technology and telecom names reported great numbers, including software and computer application mammoth



, Internet king fisher

America Online


and telecom biggie




Computer makers have been getting whipped of late on fears of a slowdown in PC demand, so the positive outlook for that business from Microsoft should help investor sentiment today.

took a look at Microsoft's numbers and its outlook for future quarters in a

separate story.

As should positive analyst comments on Microsoft and a

Bear Stearns

upgrade on

Sun Microsystems


. Sun reported

strong earnings on Wednesday.


Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 52 to 10,029. The

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 161 to 3332. And the

S&P 500 moved up 21 to 1363.

Still, computer-maker



did not impress, coming out with

earnings lower than already lowered forecasts. That's gotta hurt, especially when you¿re the CEO or an investor.

took a look at Apple's earnings in a

separate piece .

We can't forget that yesterday's action had some folks wondering whether the markets had hit a bottom. The blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked over 400 points at the open, and the tech-heavy

Nasdaq Composite Index fell more than 200 points, but both indices rebounded robustly and ended down only moderately for the day. The trading session had exorbitant volume and high volatility.'s

Dan Colarusso took a look at how the earnings party was crashed by some

rude guests who dragged down the market.

Whether or not a swift upward kick at the open today will hold is another question.


report of strong cell phone handset sales should give a boost to the telecom sector today since concern over a slowdown in this area has put immense pressure on telecom stocks since early September. Many of Nokia's competitors had earlier predicted slowing growth in the mobile-phone market and diminishing margins, but some analysts say Nokia has more credibility in the market. Nokia's profits for the period rose 43% to 1.34 billion euros ($1.13 billion), well above analysts' expectations of around 1.10 billion euros. Earnings per share increased to 0.19 euro compared with 0.14 euro a year ago. Nokia's net sales increased by 50% to 7.58 billion euros.

The big earnings reports that come out today include









. For a complete list of the S&P 500 companies that are reporting earnings today, see's



Elsewhere, there is a parade of

Federal Reserve guys speaking today. The king of them all, Chairman

Alan Greenspan speaks at 9:10 a.m, when he addresses a

Cato Institute

conference on Monetary Policy in the New Economy. Investors always have one ear open to catch whether he says anything new about the economy.

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The benchmark 10-year

Treasury, which has been seeing its price driven higher as investors have been seeking safety from turbulent equity markets, was flat at 100 13/32, yielding 5.694%.

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European markets were getting a lift from strength in telecom stocks following Nokia's earnings. Tech stocks were also rising.


FTSE 100

was up 55.60 to 6203.80.


CAC 40

in Paris was up 117.43 to 6054.78, while the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was 105.21 higher to 6588.21.

The beleaguered euro steadied after the ECB decided to leave interest rates unchanged. The euro was lately trading at 0.8414.

The major

Asian equity markets closed lower Thursday, as technology shares in Taiwan experienced a particularly nasty drop.

Amid political uncertainty at home and lacking support from Wall Street, Taipei's


index plummeted 351.0, or 6.5%, to 5081.3. Many stocks dropped the market's daily maximum of 7%.


Nikkei 225

erased early gains to drop 61.4, or 0.4%, to close at 14,811.1

In Tokyo trading, the dollar traded down to 107.90 yen. The greenback was lately trading higher to 108.08.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index fell 36.0, or 0.3%, to 14,422.5, as banking heavyweight



fell HK$2.00, or 1.9%, to 105.00 ($13.47) and

China Mobile


rose HK$0.70, or 1.4%, to 49.70.

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