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Mixed to lower open ahead

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Stocks look to reflect yesterday afternoon's earning's reports, which could be best described as mixed.

S&P futures (sp02z) are off their best levels of late-night trading and currently trade down 5.5 points at 873.50. NASDAQ futures (nd02z) also trade lower by 5.5 points at 939, while Dow futures (dj02z) trade down 55.00 at 8,200.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.35, that price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.52 and set for program selling at $-2.08. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $2.54.

After a torrid 4-session decline, the benchmark 10-year Treasures futures (ty02z) is unchanged at 112'18, with YIELD ($TNX.X) at 4.151%.

Microsoft beats estimates

Software behemoth Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are trading higher by $2.07, or 4%, to $52.82, but below levels seen in Thursday's after-hours session, when the stock traded $54. The company blew past consensus analyst earnings forecasts for the fiscal first quarter on revenue that grew 26 percent. The company lowered second-quarter earnings expectations, however, as CFO John Connors expects demand for personal computers to remain weak.

Both Prudential Financial analyst John McPeake and CIBC World Markets' Brad Reback called the quarter a "blow out."

Merrill Lynch's Christopher Shilakes said he believes the stock should get a 5 to 10 percent lift from the first quarter report.

Siebel, Check Point sink lower

Siebel Systems (NASDAQ:SEBL) is among the early losers. The stock dropped $1.19, or 16%, to $6.11 after the business systems software company reported less than expected third quarter profits.

Deutsche Bank analyst Timothy Dolan followed by downgrading the stock to "hold," saying profitability will be "severely hampered" throughout 2003 without a "sharp" reduction in costs coupled with a rebound in the spending environment.

Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP) is falling $2.73 in pre-market trading, or 16%, to $14. The provider of Internet security software reported late Thursday earnings that matched consensus expectations but revenue that fell a bit shy.

Analyst Matt Barzowskas at First Albany followed by downgrading the stock to "neutral" from "buy," citing continued deterioration in the company's core business due to increased competition and a challenging economic environment.

First Albany also downgraded database software giant Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) to "neutral" from "buy," sending the stock down 29 cents to $9.58 in the pre-open. Analyst Mark Murphy said recent checks suggested Oracle's current quarter was tracking "slightly behind" expectations. He also said valuation was "getting generous."

Biotech giant Biogen (NASDAQ:BGEN) rallied $1.63, or 4.9%, to $35 after posting third quarter earnings that topped expectations. The company also reaffirmed its full-year revenue and earnings forecasts.

Separately, Biogen said it expects to receive a one-time payment of $45 million to $50 million as part of its settlement with Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) $19.40 related to a dispute over royalties on U.S. sales of alpha interferon products.

Among other tech heavyweights reporting after Thursday's closing bell, Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) ticked up 4 cents to $3.03. The company reported a less-than-expected loss late Thursday, but said it would lay off 4,400 employees, as it did not expect to be profitable for another 6 months.

EBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) fell $2.15, or 3.7%, to $56 despite posting better-than-anticipated third quarter earnings and revenue.

Weakness in European bourses, following a larger than expected third quarter loss from telecom equipment giant Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERICY) $0.53, helped contribute to the early futures weakness. Ericsson also approved a 1 for 10 ratio change for its American Depositary Shares in an effort to meet requirements for continued listing on the Nasdaq National Market.

Jeff Bailey

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