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Investors eye economic news

Excitement over Alan Greenspan's comments on possible interest-rate cuts may set the tone for trading, but four economic reports are also on deck.

Excitement over Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's comments that the U.S. economy may need more interest-rate cuts may set the tone for trading Friday, but four economic reports are also on deck. The Dow is set to open slightly lower.

Greenspan, in a speech in New York late Thursday, said "further policy response" from the Federal Reserve may be needed, indicating that the central bank may cut interest rates further. He also said the Fed's five aggressive cuts so far this year should help boost the world's largest economy by the end of the year.

But before investors can celebrate the news and head off for the long Memorial Day weekend, they have four economic reports to consider.

On the economic front, the revision of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), a major indicator of growth in the United States, will be the most anticipated news. Economists forecast that the GDP grew at a revised 1.4 percent rate in the quarter, down from the government's initial estimate of 2 percent reported last month.

The government's April reading for durable goods orders is expected to show a 2 percent drop, compared with a 2.9 percent increase in March.

The National Association of Realtors' report on April existing home sales is expected to show a drop in the annual rate to 5.25 million, from 5.44 million the previous month.

The University of Michigan's revised Consumer Sentiment Index for May is expected to be barely changed from the first reading, down to 92.5 from 92.6.

Stocks to Watch

  • ADC Telecommunications warned Thursday night that it expects the economic slowdown to continue for the rest of the year. The telecommunications equipment maker forecast a fiscal third-quarter loss of as much as 5 cents a share, excluding certain costs. It was expected to earn 2 cents, according to First Call.

  • TiVo reported its first quarter and announced some patent wins that should excite shareholders. The maker of a device that lets television viewers replay live shows while recording had a loss of $1.20 a share in the first quarter ended April 30. That's narrower than the $1.23 average forecast of First Call.

    The company also announced on Thursday that it has won several patents for its technology. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted one patent originally filed in July 1998 by TiVo for a "Multimedia Timewarping System," giving the Alviso, Calif., company the official nod as an early mover in the sector.

  • Ditech Communications could fall after missing estimates. The telecommunications equipment maker said that, excluding certain costs, it had profit of 1 cent a share in the fourth quarter ended April 30, a penny less than the average forecast of four analysts polled by First Call.

    At the Bell

    The Dow Jones industrial average may open 15 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was off 1.7 points to 1,292 at 4:15 a.m. PDT in 24-hour electronic trading.

    Reuters contributed to this report.