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Futures edge higher in quiet trade

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Stock futures are hinting at a modestly higher open and look to recapture some of yesterday's losses with Dow component Home Depot (NYSE:HD) $28.07 reporting bottom line results that beat analysts estimates by 2-cents per share. The building products retailer said Q1 (April) earnings were $0.39 per share on sales that rose 5.8% year-over-year to $15.1 billion (consensus $15.1 billion). Shares of Home Depot jumped to $30.30 over the New York ECNs after reaffirming that it expects sales for fiscal 2003 to increase between 9% and 12% and earnings per share to rise 9% to 14% as the company expects to benefit from synergies generated after new initiative launched last year.

An article in Silicon Strategies reported that SARS is projected to decrease demand for desktop PCs in China by 15%-20% during the second and third quarter of 2003. A quick check of computer box makers here in the U.S. has shares of Dell Computer (NSADAQ:DELL) $30.36 little changed at $30.35, Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) $18.10 gaining 5 cents to $18.15, Gateway Inc. (NYSE:GTW) $2.98 flat with a 75,600 share block at $2.98 and Dow component Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ) $16.88 rising 28 cents to $17.16 over the New York ECN.

An upbeat Phase III trial for Genentech's (NYSE:DNA) $54.85 Avistan drug sent that stock soaring 44.7% in yesterday's trade, but today's trade in Inspire Pharma (NASDAQ:ISPH) $16.15 is starting out weak in the pre-market at $13.25 after the company said its INS37217 Intranasal was well tolerated, but did not meet the primary endpoints for any significant reduction in the total nasal symptom score over the 28-day trial. Inspire Pharma said that while the primary endpoints were not met, patients receiving its INS37217 Intranasal had a decreased incidence of respiratory- related infection as compared to patients on placebo.

Shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) $18.67 trade flat in this morning's pre-market, despite comments out of Goldman Sachs that the chipmaker's stock is being removed from the firms current investment list. Goldman says it is the firm's policy to remove a stock from the list automatically 90 days after it was added, unless the stock was removed earlier or renewed by the analyst. Goldman Sachs reaffirmed their "outperform" rating on the stock.

Shares of Krispy Kreme Doughnut (NYSE:KKD) $31.26 are trading flat after former employees filed suit in King County Superior Court alleging that their supervisors may have attempted to dip their doughnuts in the company coffee and filed sexual harassment charge against supervisors. The suite claims that when employees told management of the harassment, management fired the employees who complained. The suit also alleges that Krispy Kreme paid Hispanic workers less than Caucasian workers who performed the same work.

S&P futures (sp03m) currently hold a 1.8-point gain at 924.30, while NASDAQ futures (nd03m) rise 4.5 points to 1,118.50. Dow futures (dj03m) are rising 25 points at 8,515.

Futures are above fair value, with S&P fair value for today at $-0.26. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.71 and set for program selling at $-1.11. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $1.43.

Jeff Bailey

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