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Bullish tone to start week off

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Stocks are poised for a move higher at the open after retailing giant Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) $53.90 said it experienced its best single day of sales ever on Friday, ringing up more than $1.43 billion. The company said this would represent a 14% gain over last year's $1.25 billion in sales on the day after Thanksgiving. Shares of Wal-Mart jumped 2%, or $1.10 to $55 in pre-market trading. The day after Thanksgiving is typically the fifth biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S.

Technology stocks are getting a boost as Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) $20.80 gains $1.03 in the pre-market trade. Analyst Dan Niles at Lehman Brothers upgraded the chip sector bellwether to "overweight" from "equal weight," citing continued improvement in the demand for computer hardware. Mr. Niles, who has been more than cautious on the stock in recent quarters raised his price target on the Dow component to $24 from $17.

Niles also upgraded Intel's rival Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) $9.00 to "equal weight" from "underweight," which has the stock higher by 44 cents at $9.44. Niles raised his price target on the stock to $10 from $6.

It's not just Dan Niles at Lehman Brothers that is providing a spark to semiconductors this morning. Merrill Lynch raised its fourth quarter revenue forecast for Intel (INTC) to $6.9 billion and raised its bottom line expectations from 12-cents per share to 13-cents per share, but kept a "sell" rating on the stock, saying it sees the improvement in the numbers already in the stock's price.

UBS Warburg is telling clients it expects Intel's (INTC) management to increase revenue guidance from the original range of $6.5-$6.9 billion, with a midpoint of $6.7 billion, to a tighter range with a midpoint roughly at $6.8 billion.

The retail sales news out of Wal-Mart (WMT) has Treasuries seeing selling with YIELDS moving higher across the board. The benchmark 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) is jumping to 4.322%, which is a level not seen since mid-August of this year.

S&P futures (sp02z) are higher by 13 points to 949.80. NASDAQ futures (nd02z) are gaining 26 points at 1,143 and Dow futures (dj02z) are higher by 145 points at 9,015.

HL Camp & Company looks to have taken another day off and has not provided today's fair value or program trading buy/sell execution premiums. Suffice it to say though, this morning's futures action is well above fair value and will have traders looking at a higher open for stocks.

Jeff Bailey

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