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Tech Industry

Techs try to maintain momentum

Analysts meetings dominate the tech calendar as Ciena and Hewlett-Packard talk to Wall Street. The Dow is set to open slightly lower.

Analyst meetings and midquarter updates should keep things interesting for technology stocks Wednesday. The Dow should open down slightly.

Initial jobless claims will be released Wednesday morning for the prior week. Analysts are expecting that number to dip slightly from the previous figure.

Also on tap Wednesday are wholesale trade figures, which include sales and inventory statistics, and are expected to be flat from the prior month. The Federal Reserve will also release a report on consumer credit.

Companies have always scheduled regular briefings with financial analysts, but the new spin is to hold a "midquarter update." met with analysts Tuesday, and Hewlett-Packard gives a briefing Wednesday.

Ciena will discuss its business outlook Wednesday with investors at an analyst briefing at the SuperComm show in Atlanta. The road has been rough for telecommunications equipment makers, but Ciena has been able to turn in solid earnings results.

Executives from fellow equipment maker Lucent Technologies spoke at the show Tuesday, and said that although they still see the company making its financial forecasts, more cost-cutting moves are coming. Lucent will also offer early retirement packages to several thousand midlevel managers, according to published reports Wednesday.

Stocks to watch
•  HP will meet with Wall Street analysts Wednesday. At the meeting, the company is expected to maintain its outlook for the July quarter, said UBS Warburg analyst Don Young. He also said the company should discuss how business is faring in Europe and its printer business.

•  ATMI said it anticipates lower-than-expected results in the second quarter. After the market close Tuesday, the provider of materials and services for chipmaking said it now expects to earn 1 cent to 5 cents per share in its fiscal second quarter, which ends June 30. First Call's survey of five analysts predicted a profit of 12 cents per share for ATMI's second quarter.

• was on the move in afterhours trading after Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong (Holdings) agreed to buy 25 million more shares of the Internet travel service company at about $4.35 a share. Priceline founder Jay Walker and his trust are selling the shares. The deal is worth about $109 million.

• Business-to-business services firm FreeMarkets has called off a proposed merger with software maker Adexa. The companies cited a slowing economy for the deal's failure, saying that they would instead form a nonexclusive partnership to sell one another's products, and FreeMarkets would acquire a 3 percent stake in Adexa for $6 million.

At the bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 3.8 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 0.80 points to 1283.70 at 4:44 a.m. PDT in 24-hour electronic trading.

Reuters contributed to this report.