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Stock futures edge higher despite Nokia caution

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Traders are looking at a higher open this morning despite a second quarterly earnings warning in as many days from a handset maker.

Motorola (NYSE:MOT) $8.68 said yesterday that it would miss quarterly earnings as SARS impacted results and Finland-based Nokia (NYSE:NOK) $17.96 ticks 2% lower over the New York ECNs after it said second quarter handset sales were adversely impacted by SARS in China.

Despite a cautious outlook for sales, Nokia did say it expects earnings per share in the June quarter to meet its guidance of 13-16 euro cents a share, including charges of 5-6 euro, as margins remained strong. Nokia had reported operating margins in the first quarter of 24%. Shares of Nokia are slipping 2.1% to $17.58.

Shares of small cap biotech Geron Corp. (NASDAQ:GERN) $6.96 are surging 37% to $9.60 in this morning's pre-market trade after the company said it has received a U.S. patent for Pluripotent Stem Cells modified for therapeutic applications. Shares of Geron have been profiled in our intra-day commentary and Market Monitor at OptionInvestor.com and I'm going to suggest bullish traders holding SPECULATIVE positions look to raise a profit stop on 1/2 of their bullish positions to the $9.00 level at this morning's open as our bullish target of $11.00 draws near. Geron's bullish vertical count from the point and figure chart is $12.25. The stock is this morning's third-most actively traded. (Disclosure: I currently hold a bullish position in GERN)

S&P futures (sp03m) currently trade higher by 4.5 points at 981.60. NASDAQ futures (nd03m) are gaining 5.5 points to 1,203, while Dow futures (dj03m) are rising 18 points to 9,010.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $-0.05. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.10 and set for program selling at $-0.98. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $0.90.

Foreign Markets

Telecom infrastructure stocks found buyers in Europe as Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERICY) $10.33 were up 5.4% in Europe, while Alcatel (NYSE:ALA) $9.20 rose 3.4% in Paris.

Asia/Pacific

Hong Kong.......Hang Seng.........9,703....-29.79..-0.31%

Japan...........Nikkei 225........8,789....-33.64..-0.38%

Taiwan..........Taiwan Weighted...4,832.....+5.26..+0.11%

Europe

France..........CAC 40............3,079....+24.44..+0.80%

Germany.........DAX...............3,132....+37.65..+1.22%

Russia..........Moscow Times......5,510....-32.48..-0.59%

Switzerland.....Swiss Market......4,775....-10.80..-0.23%

United Kingdom..FTSE 100..........4,126.....-3.10..-0.08%

Jeff Bailey

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