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Tech Industry

The week ahead: All eyes on the Fed

The Federal Reserve will command much attention from industry leaders as it meets to discuss interest rate policy, as the software industry awaits earnings news from Oracle.

Following are some of the notable tech-related events scheduled for the week of Dec. 10 through Dec. 14.

The Federal Reserve will command much attention from industry leaders as it meets to discuss interest rate policy, as the software industry awaits earnings news from Oracle.

The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee, chaired by Alan Greenspan, will gather on Tuesday to decide on changing the interest rates levied on banks when they borrow from the government. The Fed has cut rates 10 times this year in an effort to spark the sagging U.S. economy.

Oracle will announce earnings for its second fiscal quarter on Thursday. Analysts expect the database giant will earn 10 cents a share versus earnings of 11 cents for the same quarter last year. The company just held a conference last week where CEO Larry Ellison told the audience of developers, analysts and investors his plans for the future.

Technology enthusiasts will also gather in New York City at StorageNext to learn about computer data storage and will also take a peek at new technology for the Internet at the Internet World and Streaming Media East conferences.

Investors will also watch for Friday consumer price data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a key measure of inflation and the state of the economy.

The information was gathered from First Call, Hoover's Online, CCBN's StreetEvents and CNET Investor.

Other events scheduled this week:

Tech Events
Sunday, Dec. 9
  • The XML Conference & Exhibition takes place at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 9-14. XML (Extensible Markup Language) is Web page design and publishing software that some Internet industry observers think will replace its distant cousin, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Representatives from Microsoft, Thai Open Source, iPlanet and SoftQuad will make keynote speeches.

Monday, Dec. 10
  • Penton Media will host Internet World 2001 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Dec. 10-14. The event will give information technology and business professionals access to other executives, exhibitors and vendors within the Internet industry. Keynote speakers include AOL Time Warner Co-Chief Executive Officer Robert Pittman, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Compaq Computer CEO Michael Capellas and RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser.

  • Penton will also hold Streaming Media East under the same roof as Internet World at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Dec. 10-13. The conference will focus on developments in the streaming industry, which sends audio and video content to computers and TVs.

  • The Bank Administration Institute (BAI) will kick off its Retail Delivery conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., Dec. 10-13. The event is geared toward professionals in the financial industry and will address how to use technology to provide services to customers. Keynote speakers include J.P. Morgan Chase Vice Chairman David Coulter and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

  • Key3 Media will hold a Bluetooth developers conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Dec. 10-13. Bluetooth is an emerging technology that lets cell phones, notebooks and other devices communicate with each other within a range of about 30 feet.

  • Business-to-business e-commerce software maker PurchasePro will hold an "informal" meeting with shareholders at 10 a.m. PST to accommodate shareholders who had planned to attend the regular annual meeting, which has been postponed. The meeting will also be Webcast through PurchasePro's investor relations site.

Tuesday, Dec. 11
  • StorageNext 2001 takes place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Dec. 11-13. The event is for people who buy, build, design, maintain or invest in computer-data storage equipment or services. Keynote speakers include Mark Cree, general manager of Cisco Systems' Storage Router Business Unit, and Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Sun Microsystems' Network Storage Products Group.

  • TechNet and Pacific Research Institute will present a breakfast forum on the merits and drawbacks of e-government at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park, Calif., on Dec. 11. Colorado Governor Bill Owens will give a keynote speech and executives from Oracle and Cisco will participate in a panel along with representatives from Pacific Research and the Center for Digital Government. The event will be shown live on the Web at 8:30 a.m. PST.

  • Market Access International will hold a conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 11. The event will explore how government agencies can use mobile and wireless technology to improve homeland security. Representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Treasury, U.S. Army and other federal agencies will make presentations.

  • JPA will hold a series of panels about media technology at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on Dec. 11-12. The Digital Entertainment Box Forum will address issues within streaming media technology like equipment, technology standards, services and video-on-demand.

Earnings

Wednesday, Dec. 12

  • Verity makes search software for companies. Per-share consensus estimate for the second fiscal quarter: loss of 6 cents.

Thursday, Dec. 13
  • Oracle is a major developer of database software. Per-share consensus estimate for the second fiscal quarter: profit of 10 cents.

  • Ciena makes telecom equipment for phone and data carriers. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: profit of 5 cents.
  • Tektronix makes test and measurement equipment for telecom gear, computer chips and other electronics. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: profit of 9 cents.

Economic Reports

Tuesday, Dec. 11

  • The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-setting arm of the Federal Reserve, meets to discuss the interest rates charged to banks when they borrow from the government. The Fed has cut rates 10 times this year in an effort to spark the sagging U.S. economy.

Wednesday, Dec. 12
  • The import and export price index from the Department of Commerce indicates the percentage change in import and export prices for November. No estimates were available, but in October, import prices, excluding oil, fell 0.4 percent from the previous month while export prices, excluding agriculture, dropped 0.7 percent.

  • The Current Account is a measure of all the import and export transactions for a given quarter as reported by the Commerce Department. A negative number means the United States bought more foreign goods than it sold and a positive account indicates the United States exported more goods. Wall Street expects the account deficit to decrease to $94.2 billion for the third quarter, compared to a deficit of $106.5 billion for the second quarter.

Thursday, Dec. 6
  • The Producer Price Index is expected to fall 0.3 percent in November from last month's decline of 1.6 percent. The core PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to stay unchanged versus October's tumbling of 0.5 percent. This Labor Department index tracks the cost of what manufacturers pay for raw goods to make products.

    Retail Sales for the month of November are expected to fall 2.8 percent compared with October's gain of 7.1 percent as reported by the Commerce Department. Excluding automobile sales, Wall Street expects retail sales to climb 0.2 percent vs. the previous month's gain of 1.0 percent.

Friday, Dec. 14
  • The Consumer Price Index is expected to fall 0.1 percent in November from last month's drop of 0.3 percent. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to rise 0.2 percent from a 0.2 percent increase in October. This Labor Department index tracks the change in prices at the consumer level.

  • Business Inventories represents the percentage change of the amount of goods in inventory in the United States as reported by the Department of Commerce. Wall Street predicts that this number will fall 0.4 percent in November compared to a 0.5 percent drop in October.

  • The monthly Capacity Utilization report from the Federal Reserve indicates the percentage of industrial capacity in use. Analysts expect this measurement of industrial activity to fall to 74.2 percent in November from the previous month's 74.6 percent.

  • Industrial Production represents the monthly percentage change in industrial output as measured by the Federal Reserve. The number measures the physical quantity of items produced, unlike sales value, which combines quantity and price. The number is expected to retreat 0.5 percent for November compared with the previous month's decline of 1.2 percent.