The buzz on Wall Street this morning is the availability of the just released list for the thousands of victims who lost money investing with Bernard Madoff. We can now add Bernie to the six-degrees of actor Kevin Bacon. Even Madoff’s defense lawyer is listed. The 162-page document was filed late last night in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court and other numerous celebrities, dead people and charitable institutions were named.

We were looking at a slightly higher open this morning as the futures were pointing towards a positive open. That was before the Labor Department said jobless benefits rose (again). The number of people seeking jobless benefits rose to 626,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 591,000. Wall Street was expecting 583,000 and the futures immediately turned negative after the report.

MasterCard (MA, $140.15) was up $7 in pre-open trading after the company said it earned $1.87 a share for the quarter. The results blew past the Street’s expectations of $1.61 a share. That is good news for Visa (V, $49.13) which is holding its gains from last night’s after-hours trading. The February 55 calls (VBK, $0.65) should open around $1.50-$2.00 and when they do, I’ll add a quote at the end of this blog as an update.

Gold is up $18 to $920/ oz. after Goldman Sachs (GS, $87.97) slapped a $1,000 price tag on it. The Spider Gold Shares (GLD, $89.18) are getting a nice pop in pre-market action and are up $1.42, to $90.60.

Bank of America (BAC, $4.70) fell below five bucks yesterday. The jury is still out and it is really hard to say if the bank is going to make it. In five trading sessions the stock has lost 40%, from a high of $7.80. I’m working on some bank ideas for some possible plays on Friday as we could get some action over the weekend that could move-and-shake things up a little. Ten minutes until the opening bell rings…

Rick Rouse

Update: The Visa (V, $52.87, up $3.84) February 55 calls (VBK, $1.25, up $0.60) have doubled and look strong as the first ten minutes are in the books. Set stops accordingly as trading could get choppy today.