Don't expect any good surprises when Fed chief Alan Greenspan steals the spotlight again Wednesday. Part two of his speech to Congress is likely to be a reiterration of last week's hawkish stance on interest rates. Asian and European markets moved up, and the Dow is set to open higher.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is off to the Senate Wednesday, to make some prepared remarks that aren't likely to cheer up techs. The markets have slumped since his comments last week, which indicated interest rates will be hiked until the economy starts to cool. The question and answer session with senators may give a little more insight into just how hawkish Greenspan is on rates.
A number of deals will also be making waves Wednesday; French telecom equipment maker Alcatel (NYSE: ALA) announced it will buy Canada's Newbridge Networks (NYSE: NN) in an all-stock deal valued at $7.1 billion. Another healthcare merger is in the works; MedicaLogic Inc. (Nasdaq:MDLI), a provider of online health records, plans to buy health Web site Medscape Inc. (Nasdaq: MSCP) and privately held Total eMed.
On the IPO front, Nextel Partners (Nasdaq: NXTP), the sole affiliate allowed to sell Nextel digital celluar and wireless services, priced 23.5 million shares at $20, the top end of its revised range of $18 to $20 a share.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Learn2.com, MRV Communications, Newbridge Networks, Medscape and Portal Software.
Technology stocks pulled back Tuesday ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's second round of congressional testimony. The Nasdaq composite fell 31 points to 4,380.67 while the Dow added 85 points to 10,304.84.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 55 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 7.2 points to 1356 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 17 to 570.22.
Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.67 percent to 19,519, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 1.48 percent to 2,137 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.75 percent to 16,376.
European markets were also moving up. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.79 percent to 6,122. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 1.18 percent to 6,033 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.59 percent to 7,728 at 7:11 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.