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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Battered techs braced for economic report

Techs were already hanging their heads when they got socked by Dell's profit warning, and are now braced for Tuesday's report on consumer inflation and another round of earnings. Asia moved down, Europe rallied, and the Dow is set to open flat to slightly lower.


Whatever the outcome of the Consumer Price Index, released at 8:30 a.m. ET, techs are sure to be cautious after the unexpected blow from Dell's profit warning. Consumer prices are predicted to have risen at a 0.4 percent pace last month, according to the consensus of economists polled by Reuters. Excluding food and energy costs, prices are forecast to have advanced at a rate of 0.3 percent.

Dell rubbed salt in techs' wounds Monday by warning that its third-quarter earnings will be lower than expected due to rising memory chip prices. Techs are sure to be suspicious of other PC makers Tuesday.

As techs examine their Dell injury, they'll also have a wary eye on an after-the-bell report from Microsoft Corp. Excite At Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) and PeopleSoft (Nasdaq: PSFT) will also report earnings. Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) should cheer things up, after it reported early Tuesday that third-quarter earnings were 51 cents a share, well above Wall Street forecasts.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Clarify Inc. (Nasdaq: CLFY), Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR), Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: LSCC), Microsoft Corp.(Nasdaq: MSFT) and Inc. (Nasdaq: PHCM).

Bargain hunters got into the mix in late trading Monday, helping push the Dow Jones industrial average up 97 points to 10,116.28. Tech stocks weren't as fortunate as the Nasdaq fell 43 points to close at 2,688.83. Analysts said the late buying was a sign that some investors are expecting better-than-expected figures when the Consumer Price Index for September is unveiled Tuesday.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 8 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 1 point to 1264 at 7:30 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 5 to 319.24.


Trading in Asia moved down in sympathy with US markets. The Nikkei 225 slumped 0.12 percent to 17,254, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.51 percent to 1,983 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.34 percent to 12,134.


European markets edged ahead. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.78 percent to 5,915. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.58 percent to 4,522 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.37 percent to 5,176 at 7:03 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.