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Equity Futures Higher

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Equity futures were higher this morning based on favorable analyst comments and positive overseas trading. The Dow contract was higher by about 30 points and the Nasdaq-100 contract was about 14 points higher.

Motor Higher

Morgan Stanley raised its ratings on Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM). The firm believes that demand remains robust in the automotive segment of the economy. Morgan Stanley said that with the appropriate measures taken, such as cost cutting, the auto makers could return to big profits. Shares of Ford were higher by about 25 cents in pre-market trading. The upgrade comes on the heels of the biggest convertible offering in history late last week from Ford.

Newsstand

Barron's Published its roundtable over the weekend -- a piece worth reading if you haven't already. This year's participants included Scott Black from Delphi Management, Abby Joseph Cohen of Goldman Sachs, John Neff -- a famous portfolio manager -- and Felix Zulauf of Zulauf Asset Management.

Abby, dear Abby, is bullish on Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), ChevronTexaco (NYSE:CVX), and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). John Neff likes Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM), Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), Salton (NYSE:SFP), and Neff suggested shorting Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT). Scott Black recommends BTU International (NYSE:BTUI), Southwest Bancorp (NYSE:OKSB), XTO Energy (NYSE:XTO), and Textron (NYSE:TXT). The only stock Zulauf likes in the U.S. markets is Frontline (NYSE:FRO).

Chips

CS First Boston upgraded shares of Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) ahead of its earnings report. The firm upped its rating to a buy based on the belief that the company reached bottom during its fourth-quarter or will do so during the current quarter. Shares of TI were about $1 higher in the morning session.

Follow The Trend

Selling continued in the Treasury market early this morning. Bonds finished lower in the last three consecutive sessions, today would obviously be the fourth if yields close higher. The Dow finished higher in the last three sessions as well.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury Note (TNX.X) yield was higher by about 0.65 percent this morning to a yield of 5.10 percent.

Eric Utley
Option Investor

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