As the earnings ease off Friday, IPOs and a couple of economic reports will take over. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.
The release of gross domestic product and employment cost index statistics should catch investors' attention as the Fed meeting is drawing near. The ECI data, delayed by this week's heavy snow, is an important barometer which Federal Reserve policy makers will consider when they decide how much to raise interest rates next week. The fourth quarter ECI is expected to come in at 0.8 percent, the same as in the third quarter. GDP, also an important gauge of growth, is expected to show an annual 5.5 percent growth rate, down from 5.7 percent in the previous quarter.
Earnings slow down to a trickle Friday, with Anadigics (Nasdaq: ANAD) coming out in the morning, but companies that reported after last night's bell, such as Veritas (Nasdaq: VRTS), NBCi (Nasdaq: NBCI) and Webvan (Nasdaq: WEBV) will continue to see action.
On the IPO front, L90 (Proposed ticker: LNTY), provider of online advertising and analytic services, priced its offering of 6.5mm shares at $15. Caminus (Proposed ticker: CAMZ), a provider of software and consulting services to the energy industry, prices 4.3mm shares at $16. InterWAVE (Proposed ticker : IWAV), a provider of equipment for wireless GSM communications, is also expected to price after raising its range to $10 to $12 a share.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, E-Loan, TheGlobe.com and Veritas Software.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 60 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 7.7 points to 1417 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 1 to 548.44.
Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.17 percent to 19,434, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.90 percent to 2,284 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.68 percent to 16,185.
European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.33 percent to 6,462. The CAC 40 in Paris grew 1.78 percent to 5,789 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.01 percent to 7,198 at 7:09 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.