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Defensive look as troops enter Baghdad

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Markets here in the U.S. as well as abroad have taken on a defensive look as coalition forces enter Baghdad in what many have described as a somewhat resistance-free occupation with sporadic pockets of resistance.

The dollar eased lower vs. the euro to $1.075 and was lower vs. the yen in moves one currency strategist in London said reflected a drift away from Iraq war developments. The U.S. Dollar Index (dx00y) 100.38 -0.14%, which is a basket of 7 foreign currencies showed the dollar down 0.15.

Global markets were broadly lower to mixed with Asia/Pacific markets showing China's Shanghai Composite higher by 1.52%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 1.93%, Japan's Nikkei 225 off 0.91% and Taiwan's Taiwan Weighted lower by 0.39%.

European bourses have France's CAC 40 falling 0.64%, Germany's DAX down 0.51% and the UK's FTSE 100 down 0.47%.

Here in the U.S., Treasuries are seeing modest levels of buying across the major maturities with the 10-year June futures contract (ty03m) $114'165 +0.23% gaining 8/32, with the benchmark bond's YIELD ($TNX.X) edging lower at 3.919%.

As I've been writing, it appears television coverage of a "peaceful," or at least quiet setting around U.S. troops in Baghdad of Iraqi citizens milling around in a courtyard has S&P futures (sp03m) now gaining 6 points to 884 after being lower just minutes ago. NASDAQ futures (nd03m) have risen back into the green and gaining 6.5 points at 1,057, while Dow futures (dj03m) are still lower by 32 points at 8,250.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $-0.80. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.62 and set for program selling at $-1.74. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $2.87.

Shares of software maker Borland Software (NYSE:BORL) $9.17 are among this morning's most actively traded in the pre-market and trading lower at $8.17 after the company warned for its upcoming Q1 ended in March. The company said it sees a loss of $0.01- $0.04 compared to analyst's estimates for a $0.03 per share profit on revenues of approximately $72-$75 million, which was also below estimates of $79 million. The company cited customer's reluctance to close deals in the last weeks of the quarter.

Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) $25.58 have now reversed a negative pre-market trade to see upside action at $25.62 after SG Cowen upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "market perform" in front of the company's upcoming new product cycle, which includes new desktop and server products, including Office, Exchange, Windows and SQL Server. In addition, Cowen feels a latest survey shows MSFT gaining share on all fronts and garnering the strongest repeat buying by customers and that a "hiccup" from the Iraq war is unlikely.

Jeff Bailey

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