THE DAY AHEAD: Market Preview

3 min read

Watch for stocks to carry on Friday's buying when trading begins. Asia and Europe gained. The Dow is set to roll out of bed to a groggy start.


Wall Street will make up for having Monday off with a broad buying spree when the market opens later this morning. A spate of mergers will only add fuel to this fire.

A tough bet is whether this positive sentiment will be enough to help Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) after it was panned again in Barron's. The story pointed out the painfully obvious about the online retailer: shares have fallen from their high in March, the company sells low-margin products, loses massive amounts of money and is facing some stiff competition.

The aforementioned should not come as a shock to anyone - it could still trigger a sell-off, however. Amazon's story hasn't changed, but retailing on the Web has. E-tailing is a cutthroat business and brick and mortar companies aren't going to let Amazon steal its business indefinitely.

Stocks to watch for Monday: Amazon.com was slammed in Barron's, Applied Materials bought Obsidian, E*Trade bought Telebanc, Hewlett-Packard will begin selling online, MCI WorldCom bought Skytel, Microsoft's snore of a trial resumes today, Pegasystems is being probed by the SEC and World Access's chairman resigned.

On Friday, day traders left the market on a positive note. Internet and software stocks made solid gains before the Memorial Day weekend. The Nasdaq composite picked up 51 points to 2,470.06 while the Dow gained 93 points to close at 10,559.74.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index climbed 10 to 297 on Friday.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open flat. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts 2.7 points to 1,299.9 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading, are indicating a 21-point rise in the global bellwether.


Asia gained on rumors that Japan may stop its sales tax. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 1.84 percent to 16,408, the Seoul composite in South Korea gained 2.4 percent to 753, Singapore's Strait Times index edged up 0.26 percent to 1,908 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.78 percent to 12,363.

Speculation floated that Japan may suspend its 5 percent sales tax, which was promptly denied by its government. The tax was implemented under the previous Prime Minister and flies in the face of simple logic - if you want to encourage spending, you cut taxes. However, Japan has a lot of overhead expenses and has never fully dedicated itself to spurring spending by consumers. Japan's answer to its recession thus far has been massive public works spending and weak financial regulation reforms.

In Korea, the Kospi rose on expectations that the government will begin selling off its stake in Posco, the world's largest steel maker.


European markets climbed as investors moved out of oil and financial stocks back into growth stocks. London's FTSE 100 added 1.56 percent to 6,323, the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.38 percent to 4,367 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.25 percent to 5,080 at 7:39 a.m. EST.