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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Microsoft may boost techs

Microsoft should be motoring along in the parade of earnings Wednesday, as techs move on the software giant's rosy outlook. Asia was up, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


The biggest float in the parade should grab most of the attention Wednesday with all its earnings hullabaloo. Microsoft posted an operating profit of $2 billion, or 38 cents per share, beating forecasts by 4 cents per share. Revenue jumped 28 percent to $5.4 billion amid strong demand for computer software. Microsoft said "awesome" PC demand drove their better-than-expected quarterly results.

Expected results from America Online (NYSE: AOL) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) after Wednesday's close should keep the revelry coming.

After Tuesday big thrill of tame consumer price data, investors are likely to shrug at Wednesday's economic news. International trade deficit data for August is expected to total $24.7 billion, compared with $25.2 billion in the prior report.

Expect a non-stop parade of technology stocks moving on earnings to be among Wednesday's most active issues: C-Cube Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: CUBE), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Lightbridge Inc. (Nasdaq: LTBG), PeopleSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: PSFT), RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), Siebel Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: SEBL), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), Teradyne Inc. (NYSE: TER) and Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX).

Inflation jitters were momentarily brushed aside Tuesday after the Consumer Price Index for September rose only 0.4 percent as most analysts had expected. After surging up more than 200 points, the Dow closed up 89 points to 10,204.93 while the Nasdaq trimmed 1 point to end at 2,688.25.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 56 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 7 points to 1281 at 7:30 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 6 to 324.85.


Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.63 percent to 17,535, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 2.13 percent to 2,025 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng sprang up 3.00 percent to 12,499.


European markets were mixed. London's FTSE 100 slumped 0.14 percent to 5,985. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.38 percent to 4,609 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.09 percent to 5,302 at 7:20 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.