After a better than expected jobless claims number for the recent week, stocks are mixed with renewed strength in telecom sensitive sectors leading the gains.
The major market indexes have the Dow Industrials (INDU) 8,490 lower by 3 points, while the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 898 +0.27% holds a 2.5 point gain as the broad NASDAQ Composite (COMPX) 1,322 +0.18% edges up 2.5 points. The larger-cap technology index has the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 988 trading unchanged.
Sector leaders at this hour have the Wireless Telecom Index (YLS.X) 44.04 +8%, Fiber Optic (FOP.X) +8.4% and Networking Index (NWX.X) 107.23 +6.69% showing strong gains, with AT&T Wireless Services (NYSE:AWE) $6.62 +21% after trading as high as $7.09 earlier in the session. Earlier this morning, JP Morgan rated AWE as an "overweight" from "underweight" based on the surprisingly high quality of Q3 results given transition issues that came from WorldCom's bankruptcy and associated costs, as well as the passage of significant execution risks such as the recent launch of the GSM network.
The Telecom HOLDRS (AMEX:TTH) $27.74 +1.42% are holding 3-month highs on light volume of 47,700 shares traded.
Shares of telecom equipment provider Lucent (NYSE:LU) $0.96 +26% are rebounding from recent all-time lows of $0.70 after the company's CEO Patricia Russo said yesterday that she believes Lucent is currently entering their "trough quarter" and looks for a turn higher in the company's fortune. On October 18th, the company's board of directors said it had authorized it to seek shareowner approval for a reverse stock split at its next annual meeting in February 2003. The reverse split is to allow the company to continue listing its shares on the NYSE.
Sector decliners are limited with the HMO Index (HMO.X) 589 -1.37% trading lower on what looks to be profit taking in the sector. Earlier this morning, Wellpoint Health (NYSE:WLP) $82.87 -1.9% reported Q3 earnings of $1.17 per share, which was better than consensus estimates of $1.13. Revenues in the latest quarter rose to $4.52 billion, which was also above analyst's estimates for $4.39 billion.
The Treasury bond market looks to mimic that of stocks with price action modestly bullish this morning. The 10-year Treasury futures (ty02z) 112'080 +0.11% trade with a modest gains, as YIELD on this bond edges lower with current YIELD ($TNX.X) at -0.37%.