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Lehman Lifts Tech

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Lehman Brothers reported Monday morning that business orders had picked up during March, which should benefit the larger providers of information technology services and products. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) were trading higher in the pre-opening session.

Glittering Gold

A rare upgrade in the gold sector hit the wires this morning. J.P. Morgan Securities upgraded shares of Placer Dome (NYSE:PDG) to an investment buy rating, citing relative under valuation versus comparable peers.

Jittery Japan

The Nikkei finished lower for the third consecutive session Monday, falling on fears over earnings. Japan's broad stock measure finished 0.7 percent lower. Weakness was concentrated in tech issues including Sony (NYSE:SNE), NEC, Hitachi (NYSE:HIT), and Nintendo. The one bright spot in the Asian markets were the banks.

Across the Atlantic...

European stocks were mostly higher ahead of the U.S. open of trading. Telecom and technology stocks were leading the strength in European issues. Though the buyers were in control, they remained tepid on lingering concerns of the economic recovery and return of corporate profits.

Treasury Trading

Bonds were mostly lower this morning, led by the 30-year Bond. The benchmark 10-year Note Yield (TNX.X) was trading near 5.423%.

Holiday Mood

The market closes early this week; Friday is a market holiday. This week has typically been bearish for stocks in recent years. There's also the end of the quarter effect possibly at play. With the light volume that is sure to accompany this week's holiday trading, we can expect some volatility in the next few days.

Eric Utley
Option Investor

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