Technology stocks may calm down Thursday after this week's roller coaster ride as they survey the last couple days of the quarter. Asian and European markets were down, and the Dow is set to open lower.
Unlike Wednesday, when gruesome warnings from Nortel (NYSE: NT) and Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) awaited investors at market open, the news is relatively benign Thursday. Fortunately, that could be the last upheaval that technology stocks will face this quarter, which ends on Friday.
The day's economic data isn't likely to cause a stir; a final reading on fourth-quarter gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economy is expected to show the annual growth rate remained at 1.1 percent, the same number reported a month ago
In company news, Cabletron Systems (NYSE: CS) pleasantly surprised investors in its fourth-quarter report after Wednesday's bell. The holding company for networking and telecom businesses posted a profit that beat estimates by 5 cents a share.
JNI Corp. (Nasdaq: JNIC), a supplier of fiber-channel adapters, also made news. The company said it will fall short of analysts' estimates in its first quarter. JNI executives said weakness in the Sun server market will result in earnings of between 3 cents and 4 cents a share in the quarter. Analysts were expecting a profit of 8 cents a share.
Cabletron Systems, JNI and Tech Data should be among the active stocks of the day.
Profit warnings from Nortel Networks and Palm gave technology investors an excuse to sell shares Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite shed 118 points, or 6 percent, to finish at 1,853.92.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 34 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 4 points to 1155 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 21 to 167.37.
Trading in Asia was down sharply. The Nikkei 225 plunged 693.15 to 1,3072.36 Singapore's Strait Times index fell 26.29 to 1,628.03 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 173.52 to 1,2677.89.
European markets were also in the red. London's FTSE 100 fell 70.10 to 5,543.90 the CAC 40 in Paris lost 77.54 to 5,072.89 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 43.26 to 5,774.26.
Reuters contributed to this report.