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Wall Street digs out of weekend storm

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Equity markets are expected to open at their regularly scheduled 09:30 AM EST time as snowplows scramble to clear roads into New York City and Manhattan, as a snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow over the extended weekend, begins to taper off as the day's trading gets underway.

Traders are looking at a higher open for stocks as S&P futures (sp03h) are gaining 4 points to 841, NASDAQ futures (nd03h) are higher by 9.5 points at 994.50, while Dow futures are marked higher by 20 points at 7,945.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $-0.10. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.82 and set for program selling at $-1.82.

Retailing giant and Dow components Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) $49.15 reported Q4 (January) earnings of $0.57 per share, which beat analyst's estimates by a penny. The company said revenues rose 10.7% year-over-year to $7.11 billion, which was inline with estimates for $7.1 billion. Looking forward, the company said it sees Q1 EPS of $0.40-$0.42, which is inline with consensus estimates of $0.42 and expects full-year ESP of $2.00-$2.05, also inline with estimates of $2.05.

Bear Stearns is out with a morning call on the retailing sector, saying it expects revenue challenges to persist for the group in the first half of the year. The firm believes that the economic and geopolitical uncertainty that have weighed on retailers in the four-quarter calendar year, will continue for the first 6- months of 2003, and that same store sales comparisons will be relatively difficult in early 2003. Bear Stearns' top picks are ANF, BBBY, BBY, FD, KSS, LOW, MOVI, RCII, SPLS, TJX, WMT and WSM.

Satellite radio broadcaster XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) $3.77 are surging 33% to $5.05 in pre-market trade after a weekend article in Barron's had favorable comments toward the company and its competitor Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) $0.75, which is gaining $0.24, or 32% to $0.99. Barron's article said that investors that can tolerate risk, may find XMSR "worth a bet." The article said XMSR's 347,000 subscribers at year's- end gives the company a head-start over SIRI, which had just under 30,000 subscribers, but that satellite-radio fans believe the technology could become this decades hot new consumer electronics product, ultimately boasting 30 million subscribers. The article stated that each company needs approximately 2-3 million subscribers to break-even and speculates that if XMSR hits 10 million subscribers in 2007, it could earn $500 million or $1.50 per share, saying "that could support a $30-$40 stocks.

Software giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) $48.30 is trading post 2:1 stock split today and would be gaining $0.70, or 1.45% from its close on Friday. The stock is trading $24.50 in this morning's pre-market. The company had announced a 2 for 1 stock split in mid-January.

Jeff Bailey

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