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Stock futures higher as morning's news is positive

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Stock futures are showing gains this morning as earnings and guidance from companies has been positive. Leading this morning's bullishness was home repair retailer Home Depot (NYSE:HD) $48.50 posting first-quarter earnings of $856 million, or $0.36 a share, up 35% versus year-ago earnings of $632 million or $0.27 a share. The results easily surpassed estimates compiled by Thomson Financial/First Call of $0.33 a share.

Also beating earnings estimates this morning has office supply retailer Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) $20.58 reporting earnings of $0.14 a share, which was $0.03 better than consensus on sales of $2.74 billion.

Target (NYSE:TGT) $42.70 reported upbeat earnings of $0.38 a share, which was $0.02 better than consensus. Earnings were up 35% versus year-ago earnings of $0.28 a share, while revenues for the latest quarter rose 15.1% to $9.594 billion versus the $9.40 billion consensus estimate.

Qualcomm reaffirms Q3 outlook

Shares of wireless technology maker Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) $31.89 are being bid higher at $32.70 after the company said it sees Q3 earnings of $0.21-$0.23 a share, which is right in line with consensus of $0.22 a share. QCOM said it expects revenues to increase 3-6% sequentially. For 2002, QCOM sees EPS of $0.90- $0.95, which is slightly above consensus of $0.90 a share, and revenue growth of 4-8%.

Merrill Lynch reaches settlement with NY Attorney General

Brokerage stocks may get a boost today after Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER) $43.38 said it has reached a settlement with the NY State Attorney General. The details of the settlement will be released later today. Some conditions that MER had previously agreed to were: a fine of close to $100 million, no longer paying analysts directly for work on investment banking deals, and a statement of contrition.

Stock futures holding gains

Stock futures are at their best levels of the mornings as S&P futures trade higher by 4.2 points at 1,097.70. NASDAQ futures are higher by 9.5 points at 1,208 and Dow futures are up 35 points at 10,275.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.25. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.75 and set for program selling at $-0.74. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $2.35.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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