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Mixed open ahead of Blix report

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Stock futures are off their best levels of the overnight session and currently show a flat open ahead of chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix's report to the Security Council on Iraq at 10:15 a.m. EST.

Many expect Mr. Blix's report to further encourage weapons inspection efforts in Iraq.

Economic data released this morning has December business inventories rising 0.6%, which was higher than the 0.3% forecasted by economists. Inventory to sales was 1.37 and the highest since March of last year. The news had little impact on stock futures.

Shares of Dell Computer (NASDAQ:DELL), which finished yesterday's session at $23.27 are gaining $1.15, or 4.9% to $24.42 after reporting after reporting a fourth-quarter profit of $603 million, or 23 cents a share, with matched Wall Street forecasts. Revenue came in at $9.7 billion. Company officials held steady on first-quarter estimates, and said Dell should earn 23 cents a share on revenue of $9.5 billion.

The U.S. Dollar Index (dx00y) 99.92 +0.33% sees the dollar getting a bit of a boost this morning as the euro eased off its highs at $1.0795. Treasuries are seeing modest selling with the 10-year Treasury YIELD ($TNX.X) edging up to 3.899%.

At 09:15 AM EST, more economic data will be released with January industrials production forecasted at 0.3% and capacity utilization forecasted to be 75.6%. Later, at 09:45, the University of Michigan Sentiment (preliminary) for February being released. Economist's are looking for a slight decline to 81.9 from January's 82.4.

S&P futures (sp03h) 820 currently trade higher by 1 point. NASDAQ futures (nd03h) are lower by 1.5 points at 960, while Dow futures (dj03h) notch out a 5-point gain at 7,765.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $-0.08. That price will not change curing the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.75 and set for selling at $-1.62.

Traders may want to take note that several buy programs came in yesterday when the S&P 500 futures (sp03h) were trading near the 814 level. This is near today's DAILY pivot of 814.90 in the cash market, and may be a level to monitor for potential support early in today's session.

Jeff Bailey

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