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Stocks holding early morning gains

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The major averages have been holding positive territory this morning as the Dow Industrials (INDU) trade higher by 45 points at 10,623. Helping the Dow higher today are shares of Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HWP) 19.76 +2.64%, where shareholders have voted as to whether Hewlett Packard (HWP) will acquire Compaq Computer (NYSE:CPQ) $10.31. Ballot counts are currently underway.

Also helping bolster Dow Industrial gains are shares of Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) $89.32 +1.9% as it sets another 52-week high today and is getting close to its bullish vertical count of $90. Procter & Gamble said today that it expects earnings growth for the March quarter to exceed prior guidance and Wall Street estimates behind strong volume and cost performance. For 2002, the company said it remains comfortable with the previous guidance range provided.

Shares of Lucent Technologies (NYSE:LU) $4.55 -4.81% are the most actively traded stock this morning with just over 30-million shares already traded. Lucent (LU) traded a fresh 52-week and all-time low again today at $4.00. There is no news that I can find, thus I'm lead to believe that fund managers care trying to get this one off the books prior to the end of their first quarter portfolio reporting period.

Also weak on the session are fellow telecom-equipment maker Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT) $4.53 -2.78% as it too sets a fresh 52- week low.

The telecom-related sectors are showing weakness with the Wireless Telecom Index (YLS.X) trading lower by 1.67% at 71.02, Fiber Optice Index (FOP.X) -1.49% at 91.06 and the Networking Index (NWX.X) trades lower by 1.7% at 242.11. Also weak is the North American Telecom Index (XTC.X), which is down -1.02% at 656.

Sector winners this morning is the Forest and Paper Products Index (FPP.X) 378 +1.19%, led by gains in sector bellwether International Paper (NYSE:IP) $44.95 +1.62%, Securities Broker/Dealer Index (XBD.X) 533 +1.08% and the GSTI Software Index (GSO.X) 170 +1.26%.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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