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Markets remain mixed to lower

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The major market indexes remain in the red, but it hasn't been a landslide win for bears at this point. Within the past hour, the tech-laden NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 965 -1.39% came within 2- points of trading unchanged as it filled its morning gap lower.

While the Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) 268 -4.8% leads the sector loser list on the heels of Texas Instrument's (NYSE:TXN) $14.19 -17% cautious outlook on the near-term future.

The North American Telecom Index (XTC.X) 387.9 +2.9% bucks technology weakness as telecom giant and Dow component AT&T (NYSE:T) $13.06 +4.22% finds buyers after reporting earning's that beat estimates by a penny. Also showing strong gains are shares of BellSouth (NYSE:BLS) $26.85 +8.7% after posting earnings that beat analyst's expectations.

Today's gains by the telecom service providers have the Fiber Optic Index (FOP.X) 30.93 +1% edging higher, most likely on some short-covering with thoughts that a light at the end of the tunnel is seen after telecom service providers like T and BLS have been cutting capex to try and drive earnings to the bottom line.

Shares of networking giant Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) $11.27 +2.92% are the most actively traded security in the market at just over 59 million shares traded. This morning, Cisco announced it was acquiring privately held Psionic Software for $12 million in stock. Psionic develops network security software. Shares of Cisco are also trading higher on rumor of a short squeeze, with some traders saying that company's setting of a November 6th earnings release date is easing fears of a preannouncement. Traders are noting that the last CSCO warning in April 2001 came on the 16th day of the month. With current quarter earnings due out November 6th, traders now speculate that since we're late in the month, that CSCO will not preannounce an earnings warning. Current consensus from Multex is for CSCO to report $0.13 per share on November 6th after the close of trading.

The Airline Index (XAL.X) 37.66 +4.87% currently holds today's sector gainer list, with the Gold/Silver Index (XAU.X) 61.85 +3.27% attempting to bounce from an eight-session test of the 60.00 level. The December Gold Futures (gc02z) 313.10 +0.51% trade marginally higher and have been holding above their longer- term 200-day SMA of 310 for the past three sessions. "Gold bugs" may be trying to establish some longs, in anticipation that the commodity futures find some support and get a bounce from this longer-term moving average.

Jeff Bailey

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