Stocks continue to trade in a rather tight range as the final hour of today's Columbus Day trading comes to a close. Volume remains light and just now builds over the 950 million share level at both the NYSE and NASDAQ. In recent weeks, volume has been near these levels by the 01:00 PM EST hour.
The NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) $22.30 +0.4% is the most actively traded security at just over 68 million shares, while Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) $10.06 -2.6%, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) $14.96 -1.7%, Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) $2.81 +1.44% and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) $49.07 +0.47% round out the top four most heavily traded NASDAQ issues.
Shares of Lucent Technology (NYSE:LU) $0.67 +15.5% are the NYSE's second most heavily traded stock, just behind utility concern TXU Corporation (NYSE:TXU) $12.68 -32%, after the telecom equipment maker said it received a multi-year, primary supplier contract to supply equipment to South Korean communications services provider KT Corporation. According to the contract, Lucent will provide AnyMedia line access gateways for KT's buildout of its access network, including 824,000 lines in the western part of the Seoul metropolitan area, Gangwon province, Chungcheong province and Daegu-Northern, along with part of Kyungsang province. KT Corporation is expected to begin commercial service at year-end.
In the past 90-minutes, shares of thinly traded SpectraLink Corporation (NASDAQ:SLNK) $5.31 +8.3% jumped 5% after the designer/manufacturer of workplace wireless telephone systems said it was poised to buy back 2.5 million shares, which represents roughly 14.5% of its 17.2 million share float.
Shares of conglomerate Danaher (NYSE:DHR) $53.95 -7.27% trade lower after a negative story on TheStreet.com concerning the company's accounting practices for past acquisitions. Banc of America has come to defend DHR, saying they see little merit in today's negative article and would buy weakness ahead of Thursday's earnings.
In a late afternoon call, Raymond James said it believes that Walgreens' (NYSE:WAG) $32.84 -2.9% multiple may come under pressure in the months ahead due to heightened investor concerns over its sluggish front-end sales growth and still uncertain exposure to generic drugs. In addition, Raymond James thinks Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) $2.09 -0.47% valuation does not adequately discount concerns over its restructuring. On a positive note, Raymond James believes that CVS Corporation's (NYSE:CVS) $27.22 +0.07% restructuring is on track given improved outlook for the second-half of 2002.