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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

THE WEEK AHEAD: Summer lull

Now that the Fed has spoken, there's virtually nothing for the market to focus on for the next two weeks. Expect some sideways trading until some big-name earnings come out in the second week of September.

The summer doldrums haven't been as uneventful as in previous years. The combination of a saturated initial public offering pool as well as last week's Federal Reserve Board meeting have made August just as intriguing as any other month.

To absolutely no one's surprise, the Fed raised short-term interest rates by one-quarter of a percent.

What was surprising, however, was the way investors jumped back into beaten down technology stocks, sending the Dow Jones industrial average soaring to a record high before profit taking set in.

"This was the most anticipated interest-rate hike that I can imagine and you're seeing a natural reaction after a major rally in the market," said Barry Hyman, strategist at Ehrenkrantz, King Nussbaum Inc.

Despite this increase, U.S. companies are expected to continue their borrowing frenzy, fueling expansion and investment at least through the rest of the year.

"Right now, the expectation is that September is going to return with a vengeance in terms of the supply calendar," said Gary Zeltzer, an investment-grade portfolio manager at J W Seligman & Co. Inc.

A corporate finance official said investment-grade issuance in September could total a whopping $50 billion.

Much of the anticipated September borrowing frenzy stems from year-end Y2K concerns as well as the ramping up of production for the Christmas shopping season.

So until Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) and National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM) report earnings Sept. 9, market mavens will be paying an undue amount of attention to every single economic report due out in the next two weeks.

Following Oracle and National Semi, investors will be watching for earnings from the likes of Cabletron Systems Inc. (NYSE: CS), 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS), Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE: MU) and Micron Electronic Inc. (Nasdaq: MUEI).

Otherwise, there's not much to look forward to through the Labor Day weekend.

Tidbits for the week

  • Comverse Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: CMVT), perhaps the easiest company to misspell, is also one of the hottest technology stocks going. This week it closed within a whisker of its 52-week high of 82 3/8.

    Comverse, which markets and supports computer and telecommunications systems and software for multimedia communications and information processing applications, will report earning next week.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn 49 cents a share in its second quarter.

  • Neon Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: NESY) 180-day IPO lockup expires next week. Expect some weakness.

  • RoweCom Inc. (Nasdaq: ROWE) 180-day IPO lockup also expires.