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Dell and Citibank set stage for higher open

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Shares of Dell Computer (NASDAQ:DELL) are being bid higher at $29.70 in pre-market trading, up 65-cents or 2.2%, after CEO Michael Dell spoke to reporters in Tokyo saying that the company is seeing some improvement in overall demand for computer hardware. "Although a broad scale upgrade of computer systems will be driven by rebounding profits," Dell has gained market share, he said.

Shares of banking giant Citigroup (NYSE:C) $35.70 are bid higher at $37.15, up 4% from Friday's close, after Lehman Brothers upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "equal-weight" and raised its price target to $46 from $43. Lehman raised their sector view on large-cap banks to "neutral" from "negative" as macro concerns in 4 areas (general economic, credit quality, capital markets, and regulatory/legal) have diminished incrementally, and believes Citigroup will be the main beneficiary of this more positive outlook. The KBW Bank Index (BKX.X) finished Friday's session at 761.71 after putting in a double-bottom near 610 earlier this month.

In a different broker call, Merrill Lynch is cutting their 2002- 2004 North American video game projections in light of recent commentary from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) $67.61 and THQ Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI) $14.30. In addition, the firm believes it will be challenging for publishers to post strong top-line growth in Calendar-year 2004 without solid market share gains.

After seeing its shares plummet 41% on Friday, share of Cigna (NYSE:CI) $37.00 are gaining $3.50 per share to $40.50 in pre- market after the Wall Street Journal reports that dissension from some plaintiff's lawyers has snagged a proposed $200 million settlement between CI and hundreds of thousands of physicians who are suing the company for its use of software that automatically chops doctor's bills to what it calculates as more appropriate payment.

S&P futures (sp02z) are currently gaining 9.3 points to 908. NASDAQ futures are higher by 19.50 points at 1,012 while Dow futures (dj02z) are higher by 95 points at 8,535.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.30. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.38 and set for program selling at $-1.92. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $2.45.

For a third-straight session, Treasuries are currently finding buyers in early morning action with the December 10-year futures (ty02z) 113'095 +0.13% now testing their rolling over 50-day SMA as resistance, with the 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) falling to 4.073%. This action may have equity bulls somewhat cautious at the open of trading, but may also be a bullish move in Treasuries just ahead of next week's FOMC meeting and the Fed's decision in interest rates.

Jeff Bailey

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