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Stock futures are moving higher this morning on reports that U.S. forces were in the Iraq-Kuwait demilitarized zone. The BBC reported that U.S. and British forces were taking up battle positions amid speculation that action is imminent.

S&P futures (sp03m) are currently gaining 5.5 points at 871.70. NASDAQ futures (nd03m) are rising 3.5 points at 1,091, while Dow futures (dj03m) are gaining 65 points at 8,235.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $-0.98. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.72 and set for program selling at $-2.22.

According to HL Camp & Company, S&P 100 component National Semiconductgor (NYSE:NSM) was weighted on the buy side, while shares of Altria (NYSE:MO) was weighted for selling. There are 10 stocks weighted for buying and 2 stocks weighted for selling.

Yesterday, after the close of trading, software maker Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) $12.25 reported Q3 (February) earnings of $0.11 per share, which was a penny better than consensus estimates. The company said revenues rose 2.4% year-over-year to $2.31 billion which was inline with consensus estimates of $2.31 billion. Later in the company’s conference call, executives said that due to heightened uncertainty due to war fears, it is widening its estimate ranges for fiscal Q4 (May) and looks for total revenue growth is pegged at -6% to +2%; new license growth pegged at -15% to +5%; and EPS is expected to be $0.12-0.15 (consensus estimate is $0.14). ORCL officials added that they saw widespread slippage in business in final month of fiscal Q3 that was, in all likelihood, a function of customer concerns about Iraq conflict and added that its sales force reorganization probably had some impact that caused some deals to slip in quarter, particularly in North America, but it expects those deals to close early in Q4.

Late yesterday, the February semiconductor equipment industry book- to-bill ratio was reported and showed a gain to 0.99 in from January’s 0.92. Bookings rose to $782 million from a revised $739 million in January. The book-to-bill figure compares favorably to a Fulcrum estimate of 0.88.

Morning movers have shares of Boots&Coots (AMEX:WEL) $1.90 continuing to gain momentum and are indicated to open at $2.54 on increasing speculation that Saddam Hussein will set fire to oil wells in Iraq, should coalition forces attack.

Semiconductor bellwethers have Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) $18.19 being marked higher at $18.30, while Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) $13.54 is edging up 1 cent at $13.55.

On a side note. Denver and the surrounding metro area has received and continues to receive a much needed amount of heavy snowfall and many cities have restricted any road travel to emergency vehicles and essential government employees. Power outages have been frequent in some areas. As long as we have power and a phone line, OptionInvestor.com and premierinvestor.net should look for their regularly scheduled intra-day updates, but should we have some power failures, then subscribers should be prepared for delays.

Jeff Bailey

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