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Before The Bell: Tech Bulls Yahoo! OPEC Doesn't Budge


Microsoft makes a bid for Yahoo! OPEC leaves output unchanged. Futures are up.

Morning Perspective: Tech bulls Yahoo!

Bloomberg reports Microsoft (MSFT) announced this morning it has made a bid for Internet titan Yahoo! (YHOO). The offer is for $31 per share representing a 62% premium above yesterday's closing price and valuing Yahoo! at $44.6 billion. The announcement marks the largest tech acquisition that may better position Microsoft in the Internet-search market, which is expected to almost double to $80 billion by 2010. Todd mentioned Yahoo earlier in Wednesday's Random Thoughts.

From the Bull Pen: Bulls know the Yahoo! trade is over but can play the upside in Microsoft; sell stops below $30.

From the Bear Cave: Bears know the MSFT/YHOO combo will certainly pose a challenge for Google (GOOG). Since GOOG is down in the premarket after missing earnings estimates last night, bears may wait for a more plausible downside entry should the stock rally to $550; buy-stops set above.

OPEC Unchanged

WSJ reports OPEC decided to leave oil production targets unchanged. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which accounts for 40% of the world's oil, agreed to maintain its current production levels of 29.67 million barrels a day. OPEC ministers made the decision at a meeting in Vienna on concerns that global growth will slow in the second quarter, and that increased oil output was unnecessary. The cartel will review its targets again on March 5. See Hoofy and Boo's perspective in Oil: A Slippery Subject.

From the Bull Pen: Bulls may expect companies like Transocean (RIG) to outperform should oil prices remain elevated. Near-term sell-stops may be set below $117.

From the Bear Cave: Bears see a head and shoulders pattern in the oil ETF (USO); buy-stops may be set above $75 for any downside attempt.

For more ideas, see Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.

Quick Check Around the World

It's the final session before Super Sunday as most of our foreign markets are as green as the turf in Arizona.

Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +2.85%, Nikkei -0.70%, Sensex +3.36%, Taiwan +2.03% and Shanghai -1.43%.

A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +2.40%, DAX +1.90%, FTSE +1.88%, ATX +1.33%, Swiss Mkt. +1.37% and Stockholm +2.45%.

A Look At Commodities

Crude oil is trading lower this morning down -0.25 to 91.50. Gold is higher +10.90 to 933.60. Silver is up +0.285 to 17.280, and copper is up +7.35 to 328.95.

The dollar index is lower -0.058 to 75.120.

As of 8:40 AM EST, S&P futures are up +0.90 to 1380, and Nasdaq futures are up +12.50 to 1860.

On the Radar


Nonfarm Payrolls: -17 k vs. 70 k
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% vs. 5.0% cons
Average Hourly Earnings MoM: 0.2% vs. 0.3% cons
Average Hourly Earnings YoY: 3.7% vs. 3.9% cons
Average Weekly Hours; 33.7 vs. 33.8

10:00 AM U. of Michigan Confidence: 79.0 cons

Happy Friday! Let's bring home the sushi today, Minyans! Good luck!

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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