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Nokia and Qualcom buck otherwise lower trend

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Wireless handset plays have Nokia (NYSE:NOK) $12.95 and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) $35.18 bucking the lower price action in S&P futures (sp03h) 821.20 -0.89% this morning as shares of Nokia (NOK) were higher in European trade on a consultants report showing stronger-than-expected industry handset sales in the fourth quarter, while Qualcomm (QCOM) rises 32 cents to $35.50 in pre-market trade after the company raised its fiscal second quarter forecast for phone chip shipments to 28 million from 27 million, citing "steady progress" in global third-generation CDMA network deployments.

Qualcomm also said it expects to ship 23 to 25 million phone chips in the fiscal third quarter, up from 16 million in the same period a year ago.

Traders are looking at a lower open of the major indexes here in the U.S. as S&P futures (sp03h) 821.20 -0.89% are lower by 7.4 points, NASDAQ futures (nd03h) 978.50 -0.81% are down 8 points and Dow futures (dj03h) 7,665 -0.9% are off 70 points.

These values are below today's S&P 500 fair value, which is $-0.09. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.97 and set for program selling at $-1.79. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $0.62.

Treasuries are seeing a strong round of buying in their early morning trade, with the 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) 3.581% falling back near Friday's low session trade of 3.578%. The five-year bond is extending its gains from Friday, with this shorter-term bonds YIELD ($FVX.X) 2.487%, which fell to record multi-year lows on Friday, lower again this morning.

Shares of Dow component General Electric (NYSE:GE) $24.30 are lower at $23.97 in New York ECN trading. Late Friday, GE released its 2002 annual report, which gave analysts a first read.

Looking at the worrisome areas for the market in GE's capital businesses, J.P. Morgan Securities concluded that "although exposure to the financially distressed Commercial Airline, Telecom and Cable industries continues to be at high levels, GE looks to be managing this exposure by adequately reserving in a pay-as-you-go manner."

Merrill Lynch noted that in aerospace, GE is maintaining expectations that its engine fleet will expand to 24,000 by 2010 from 16,000. GE also expects around $800 million in pre-tax losses could be taken this year for impaired investment securities. That level would be largely unchanged from the $759 million taken in 2001, with $167 million tied to World Com bonds.

Shares of investment banker Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) $66.88 could become a stock of focus today after a critical assessment on the stock over the weekend in Barron's.

Goldman has the highest price-to-earnings multiple in its sector and Barron's reports Street rumors of a big write-down ahead over the purchase of Spear Leeds & Kellogg, which includes $4 billion of goodwill and other such items on the Goldman balance sheet.

With large employee ownership, Barron's also says the company has triple the usual percentage of staff stock options at 3% of shares outstanding. Goldman's move to expense the options will be phased in over several years. In a comparison, Barron's notes much higher investment banking income reported by Lehman Bros. (NYSE:LEH) $53.99, which has about 10% of shares outstanding allocated to employee options.

Jeff Bailey

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