As another piece of the economic puzzle slides into place Tuesday, techs will study the big picture on inflation before moving on earnings news. Asia was mixed and Europe was down ahead of the U.S. economic news, and the Dow is set to open lower.
The release of the Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m. ET will determine the outlook for trading Tuesday, and could determine its course of the next few months. The index, which serves as a gauge of inflation, is one of the last pieces of data the Federal Reserve will evaluate before deciding on interest-rate policy next week.
Economists surveyed by Reuters predict the index of consumers prices to grow at a rate of 0.3 percent over the previous month. The core rate, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to rise only 0.2 percent.
The computer sector is apt to be active Tuesday, after Monday night's good news from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) proved the bellwether can keep pace with upstart competitors. H-P blasted past estimates with a 37 percent rise in third-quarter profit. Investors are also awaiting the release of Dell Computer Corp.'s (Nasdaq: DELL) second-quarter results.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) and Splitrock Services Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLT).
Technology stocks made decent gains in late trading Monday as the Nasdaq moved up 7 points to 2,645.27 and the Dow rose 73 points to 11,046.79 in very light trading and the Dow Jones industrial average rose 73 points to 11,046.79 in very light trading.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 17 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 2.1 points to 1337 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 5.27 to 280.61.
Trading in Asia was on a downswing, except for the Nikkei 225, which rose 0.19 percent to 17,860. Singapore's Strait Times index lost 0.75 percent to 1,984 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.87 percent to 12,783.
European markets were also looking down. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.79 percent to 6,186. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.49 percent to 4,437 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.29 percent to 5,242 at 6:45 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.