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Stock futures post modest gains

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Stocks look to rebound modestly this morning after yesterday's declines as S&P futures (sp02z) gain 6.9 points to 896.50. NASDAQ futures (nd02z) are higher by 8.5 points at 1,023.50, while Dow futures (dj02z) are gaining 67 points at 8,520.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg's weekly retail sales index showed a 2.3% decline in weekly retail sales from the week prior, but still gaining 2% versus the year-ago period. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi's Mike Niemira quipped, "Unfortunately, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 2000, which was a dismal season."

Wireless handset maker Nokia (NYSE:NOK) $18.02 is edging down 69 cents at $17.33 after the company reaffirmed it current Q4 outlook, but said it sees sales at the lower end of the range. Nokia projected Q4 sales of EUR 8.8-9.0 billion versus previous guidance of EUR 8.9-9.2 billiion. While the company expects to see significant market share gains in the quarter, it said operating margins for Nokia Networks are now estimated to be approximately zero.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Europe's highest court ruled that tobacco companies must comply with the EU's new labeling standards on cigarette packaging, including a ban on the terms "light" and "mild" within the EU.

The merger of defense contractors Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) $95.35 and TRW (NYSE:TRW) $50.90 may have hit a snag as the New York Times reports that the Justice Department, which is being prodded by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) $51.50 and the Pentagon, are in late negotiations on a consent decree to assure the government that NOC will not abuse its control over satellite technology. NOC has already said this sticking point could push back the deal's closing by a week or so from tomorrow's deadline.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.06. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.01 and set for selling at $-1.83. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $0.60.

Jeff Bailey

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