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Stocks look to firm up in pre-open trade

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Stocks are looking to attempt a three session losing streak as equity futures edge higher in the pre-market trade.

Shares of software maker Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) $9.05 are ticking higher at $9.25 after being knocked lower yesterday by a downgrade after making reassuring comments at a technology conference.

The company said it's seeing the end of almost two years of revenue declines and projected a turnaround in the first half of 2003, with positive revenue growth in the second half. The software maker also backed its fiscal second-quarter profit goal.

Shares of Vodafone Group (NYSE:VOD) $15.45 are jumping higher by $1.80, up 11.6% from Monday's close, after the company said first-half, pre-tax profits before non-recurring items rose a better-than-expected 41 percent and said it expected a good year- on-year growth for key performance indicators.

SoundView said the company's results beat street estimates on all metrics, with free cash flow performance being the biggest surprise. Despite VOD's caution that it will face higher costs and taxes in 2003, SoundView believes strong first-half results will lead to upward number revisions throughout Wall Street.

J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) $18.51 reported fiscal third quarter earnings that topped recently raised expectations and lifted its outlook for the year, helped by continued progress in the turnaround of its department store, catalog and pharmacy businesses. The retailer reported income from continuing operations for the quarter ending October of $123 million, or 30 cents a share, up from 9 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of 27 cents a share. Prior to the company's raised outlook on Nov. 7, analysts had been expecting earnings of 23 cents a share. The stock closed Monday down 93 cents at $18.51.

Treasuries are moving higher in price, resuming last week's trend. Fixed-income markets were closed yesterday in observance of Veterans Day.

The 10-year Treasury note is up 10/32 to yield ($TNX.X) 3.805% while the 30-year government bond jumped 31/32 to yield ($TYX.X) 4.73%.

No economic data is due out until Thursday, when the October retail sales report and the October import and export price indexes are unfurled

In the currency sector, the dollar was little changed, erasing 0.1% to 119.60 yen while the euro declined 0.1 percent to $1.0079.

S&P futures (sp02z) are trading higher by 3.3 points to 881.10, NASDAQ futures (nd02z) are adding 3 points to 983.50 and Dow futures (dj02z) are gaining 40 points at 8,395.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.20. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.02 and set for selling at $-2.02. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $1.90.

Jeff Bailey

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