Investors will be waiting for the consumer price report to slide another piece of the economic puzzle into place Wednesday. Asian markets were down, European was mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.
Tuesday's surprising decrease in retail sales took the markets by surprise, and hoisted the Nasdaq to close in positive territory after earlier losses. Wednesday's consumer price report will hold even more sway over the markets, as the latest clue on the future of interest rates. Consumer prices are expected to have risen 0.2 percent in May, up from a 0.1 percent gain in April.
Investors will also be eyeing the release of the "beige book" report Wednesday afternoon. The report, from the Federal Reserve, surveys economic conditions in various U.S. regions.
In Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) legal news, the company is getting its way with appeals; the U.S. Court of Appeals has agreed to hear its case -- so it won't proceed directly to the Supreme Court, which was the route sought by government attorneys.
A couple positive surprises on the earnings front could rally techs; CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI) and Fatbrain.com (Nasdaq: FATB) both posted better-than-expected results after Tuesday's bell. IDT Corp (Nasdaq: IDTC), Certicom (Nasdaq: CERT) and Daktronics (Nasdaq: DAKT) will report quarterly results Wednesday.
On the IPO front, chip inspection equipment vendor August Technology (Nasdaq: AUGT) priced its IPO at $12, at the bottom of its $12-14 range, and Rediff.com (Nasdaq: REDF) priced at $12.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Bell South, CMGI, eBay and Fatbrain.com.
Technology stocks staged a late rally Tuesday after the Commerce Department reported that retail sales declined 0.3 percent in May. The Nasdaq composite closed up 83 points to 3,851.11 while the Dow Jones industrial average pushed up 58 points to end at 10,621.84.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 8 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 1.1 to 1493 at 7:49 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 7 to 482.54.
Trading in Asia was on a downswing. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.54 to 16,654, Singapore's Strait Times index shed 1.15 percent to 2,018 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 2.26 percent to 15,692.
European markets were mixed. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.25 percent to 6,557. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.25 percent to 6,532 and the DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.46 percent to 7,268 at 7:05 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.