Now On Center Stage…

Stocks are slightly negative
mid-day after a lower open on the heels of President Bush’s State of the Union
address. The issue at center stage is once again Iraq, as war appears by many to
be inevitable. Of note, the dollar has lost ground despite US Secretary nominee
John Snow’s support of a strong dollar policy. Meanwhile, the earnings parade
continues with Kraft positing a major disappointment. Later today, at 2:15 p.m.
ET Fed announcement.

The Dow Jones Industrial
Average

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is -0.49% at 8,049.01. The S&P 500
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is -0.15% at 857.25. The Nasdaq
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is -0.16%
at 1,339.99.

Leading to the upside are
oil

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, +3.33%, oil service
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, +1.10%,
semiconductors

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, +1.01%, and
pharmaceuticals

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, +0.98%.

The big losers on the session
are airlines
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, -2.46%, gold and silver
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, -1.74%, and telecoms
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, -1.75%.

There were no economic releases this morning.

The 10-year U.S. Note
is -055 at 113 315.

The Dollar is -0.30 at
99.44.

Gold is -0.60 at 369.40.

Crude Oil is +0.76 at
33.43.

Volume is at 781,090,000
on the NYSE and at 753,165,000 on the Nasdaq.

Market breadth is positive,
with NYSE advancing issues over declining issues by a ratio of 1.5, and up
volume over down volume by a 1.79 ratio. Nasdaq advancing issues over declining
issues are at 1.90, and up volume over down volume is at a 1.14 ratio.

Weighing down the Dow are:

Altria
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MO |
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, -2.40% at 37.46, Citibank
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, -2.17% at 34.69, Boeing
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, -2.35% at 30.71, Coca Cola
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, -1.19% at 40.20, McDonalds
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, -2.11% at 14.36, and
Eastman
Kodak
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, -2.10% at 29.90.

Stocks In The News:

Fuel stocks were up and running in response to President
Bush’s proposal to fund research for hydrogen-powered automobiles. From that
group, Plug Power
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, +5.75% at 5.70, and Millennium Cell
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, +4.19% at 2.39, although Ballard Power
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is down
0.76% at 10.41.

The nation’s second largest candy maker Hershey
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, -3.53% at 64.30, reported fourth-quarter earnings in line with
expectations as it posted profits vs. a year ago loss due to charges from
reducing its workforce and inventory.

In the chip business, Novelus
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, +3.99% at
30.79, has met its fourth-quarter earnings expectations with profits of $0.11
per share and has guided higher for the first quarter. The company has been
upgraded by Merrill Lynch to “buy” from “neutral,” but has had its estimates cut
at UBS Warburg.

Also in the chip sector, Applied Materials
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was upgraded to a “buy” from “neutral” by UBS Warburg. Elsewhere in
semiconductor land, Intel
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, -0.31% at 15.98, Texas
Instruments

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, -0.63% at 15.90, and KLA-Tencor
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,
+1.53% at 35.20.

In the retail sector, Prudential has downgraded Williams
Sonoma Inc.

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, -2.20% at 22.66, and Bed Bath and Beyond
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, -2.72% at 33.28, to “hold” from “buy.”

Prudential has also upgraded oil stocks BP
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,
+4.52% at 38.14, ChevronTexaco
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, +3.62% at 65.23, and
Marathon Oil

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, +4.14% at 21.14.

Also in the oil sector, Cooper Cameron
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,
+0.80% at 46.35, missed its fourth-quarter earnings estimates by $0.01 with
profits of $0.38 per share. The company has also guided lower for the
first-quarter.

Education company Career Education Corp.
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, +12.47% at 45.11, has been upgraded by CSFB to “outperform” from
“neutral” after beating its fourth-quarter earnings expectations by $0.06 with
profits of $0.65 per share. Also, Corinthian Colleges
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, +6.14%
at 36.08, beat its second-quarter earnings expectations by $0.04 with profits of
$0.35 per share. The company has also guided higher for 2003.

Food processor Kraft Foods
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, -12.21% at
31.70, missed its fourth-quarter earnings expectations by $0.01 with profits of
$0.54 per share. The company has also been downgraded by Merrill Lynch to
“neutral” from “buy.”

danielb@tradingmarkets.com