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AT&T jumps 17%, but Dow trades flat

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Shares of AT&T (NYSE:T) $16.23 +17.5% are today's Dow standout after the company reported bottom line results that beat analysts forecast, but forecasts that were lowered based on company's guidance.

In recent days, some market analysts have been cursed by traders as their estimates have been well below what companies have been reporting for their recently completed quarter, but unlike past years, analysts may actually be following some of the more "cautious" guidance given by company executives as they look to "low ball" their results in an attempt to avoid shareholder lawsuits that may come from over-optimistic guidance.

The Dow Industrials (INDU) 8,473 -0.12% trades lower by 12-points despite gains found in AT&T (T), as Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) $29.46 -6.91%, Exxon/Mobil (NYSE:XOM) $34.89 -1.49%, Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) 39.84 -1.38% and 3M (NYSE:MMM) 128 -1.36% trade lower.

Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) said it earned $12 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with $39 million, or 13 cents a share in the year-ago period. EK's $0.04 per share earnings were well below analysts estimates of $0.14 per share. Hmmmm.... if analysts can miss on the upside, I guess they can miss on the downside too.

EK said first-quarter results "reflect an unprecedented combination of events in recent times. Consumers have cut back significantly on travel and vacation spending, and that has impacted picture-taking."

For the full year, EK said it expects earnings to come in at the low end of the $2.35-$2.95 a share range the company had forecasted in January. This would have current analyst's estimates of $2.54 most likely coming down after today's comments from EK. For 2002, EK reported full-year EPS of $2.72.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 914.60 +0.33% trades with a 2-point gain after it traded a session high of 914.91, which was just enough bullishness in the early hours of trade to have the SPX achieving our WEEKLY R2 pivot analysis level.

In similar fashion, the narrower S&P 100 Index (OEX.X) 464.16 +0.23% trades just off its morning high of 465.09 and it too traded its WEEKLY R2 of 464.60 this morning.

The NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 1,106 +0.35% sports a modest 3.8- point gain as the NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) $27.53 +0.36% holds firm at its WEEKLY R1 of $27.24, with a session low of $27.26.

NASDAQ-100 component Sigma-Aldrich (NASDAQ:SIAL) $48.33 +5.63% leads today's index gainers after reporting Q1 earnings of $0.68 per share, which was $0.07 better than the Street's estimates. Sigma-Aldrich, which develops and manufactures a broad range of biochemicals, organic chemicals and chromatography products replaced Immunex in the NASDAQ-100 on July 16, 2002. Today's technical action in SIAL's point and figure chart has been bullish as today's trade at $47 was enough to break the stock's bearish resistance trend and trigger a "triple-top" buy signal. The company increased its 2003 EPS expectations to $2.60-$2.65, which reflects benefits from currency and process productivity improvements.

Jeff Bailey

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