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S&P 500 looks to close above 1,000

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While the markets and bulls got a boost to their scenario of a recovering economy in today's Empire State Index, investor psychology should get a boost with the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 1,006.55 +1.81% threatening to close above the 1,000 level for the first time since June 20, 2002 when the SPX last closed above the 1,000 level on its way lower to the 780 level.

The "drug-related" sectors are now leading today's sector gainers with the Biotechnology Index (BTK.X) 486.06 +3.6% seeing sector bellwether Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) $67.28 +3.5% move to another 52- week high after the company and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:WYE) $47.44 +3.19% announced positive results of a new study for combination Enbrel therapy, which inhibited progression of joint damage and offered significant symptom relief for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Shares of drug-maker and Dow component Merch (NYSE:MRK) $61.09 +3.12% have moved to a new 52-week high and triggered a "spread triple top" buy signal with today's trade at $61.00.

Shares of generic drug-maker Barr Labs (NYSE:BRL) $64.90 +1.43% edged above Friday's 52-week and all-time high of high of $65.55 after the company said it has received tentative approval from the FDA for its generic version of KOSP's Niaspan 500 mg and 750 mg Extended-Release tablets. Barr Labs is currently challenging the validity and infringement of certain patents held by KOSP for Niaspan 500 and 750 mg tablets and a trial in the Federal District Court in New York is currently scheduled for December 2004 to resolve the disagreement between KOSP and Barr Labs.

Treasuries at the longer-dated 10 and 30-year maturities reversed earlier gains by session's end with strong selling found in the shorter-dated 5-year Treasury. The 5-year YIELD ($FVX.X) rose 9.2 basis point to close with a 2.11% YIELD, the 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) gained 6.6 basis points to 3.17%, while the longer-dated 30-year YIELD ($TNX.X) reversed a new multi-decade low YIELD trade at 4.135% to finish 5.1 basis points higher at 4.221%.

Bond traders cite two possible scenarios for today's bond market action, with one being this morning's stronger than expected Empire State survey lessoning the possibility of a 50 basis point rate cut by June 25, and an argument that at lower YIELDS there may be a relative value argument favoring stocks over bonds at current levels of trade.

The Dow Industrials (INDU) 9,264 +1.61% is just off their highs of 9,287, with breadth holding positive at 29 to 1. Shares of AT&T (NYSE:T) $20.80 -0.28% have sunk to their lows of the session. On Friday, Jefferies downgraded the stock to "underperform" from "hold" based on valuation as the stock had exceeded their price target of $18.

The NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 1,232 +2.3% reached an afternoon high of 1,237.99 with gains across all major technology of 1.9% or better.

Jeff Bailey

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