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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Intel earnings and economic news set the pace

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) earnings should invigorate techs Thursday, though economic news will also hold sway, with key inflation figures and a speech from the Fed Chairman on deck. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

Economic news is back in the spotlight, with reports on retail sales and wholesale inflation due out. Investors will also seek clues to the Fed's initiative on interest rates when Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan speaks at the Economics Club of New York Thursday evening.

December's report on producers' prices, due out later this morning, is expected to show prices at the wholesale level rose 0.3 percent in December after climbing 0.2 percent in November. The report will help assess whether the robust pace of the U.S. economy is triggering an increase in prices for goods and services; a trend which would prompt the Fed to raise interest rates to slow the economy down.

The report on December's retail sales figures is expected to show retail sales gained 0.9 percent last month, the same pace as in November.

Intel may beat expectations, after missing consensus for two consecutive quarters. The world's biggest computer chip maker is officially expected to have pulled in 63 a share in its fourth-quarter, according to First Call's consensus estimate. Intel will release its earnings after the bell.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Applied Materials, Etec Systems, Barnesandnoble.com, Intel, Network Equipment Technologies and Rational Software.

Falling bond prices unnerved technology investors Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite lopped off 71 points to close at 3,849.82 while the Dow Jones industrial average moved up 40 points to close at 11,551.10.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 75 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 9.5 points to 1452 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 24 to 528.69.

Asia

Trading in Asia was down with the exception of the Nikkei 225, which rose 0.83 percent to 18,833, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 1.37 percent to 2,394 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.51 percent to 15,634.

Europe

European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.81 percent to 6,586. The CAC 40 in Paris grew 0.95 percent to 5,636 and the Xetra DAX in rankfurt was down 1.39 percent to 7,009 at 7:09 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.