Earnings may tempt investors to snap up techs, despite reservations ahead of Thursday's Humphrey-Hawkins testimony. Asian markets moved up, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.
Though techs may hold back ahead of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's Humphrey-Hawkins testimony in Washington on Thursday, which could signal another hike in U.S. rates next month, a strong round of earnings should coax them upwards. Hewlett-Packard Co (NYSE: HWP), Analog Devices Inc (NYSE: ADI), Intermedia Communications (Nasdaq: ICIX), and Be Free (Nasdaq: BFRE) are among techs slated to report quarterly results Wednesday.
The market will also be busy absorbing all the good news reported after Tuesday's bell. Chip equipment maker Applied Materials Inc (Nasdaq: AMAT) Internet gateway Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), ISP Prodigy Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: PRGY) and Internet services firms Modem Media (Nasdaq: MMPT) and Razorfish Inc. (Nasdaq: RAZF) all walloped consensus estimates in their quarterly reports Tuesday.
Economic news Wednesday includes a report on January housing starts, expected to show a rate of about 1.6 million housing starts, compared with a 1.7 million rate in December.
On the IPO front, LendingTree (Nasdaq: TREE) priced at $12.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Applied Materials, drkoop.com, Lycos, Network Appliance, Razorfish and TheStreet.com.
Investors migrated out of technology stocks and into blue-chip offerings Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average moved up 198 points to 10,718.09 while the Nasdaq composite inched up 2 points to 4,420.32.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 3 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 0.4 points to 1409 at 7:51 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 1 to 594.33.
Trading in Asia was moving up. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.19 percent to 19,599, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 0.59 percent to 2,212 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 2.13 percent to 17,043.
European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.22 percent to 6,078. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.18 percent to 6,081 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.77 percent to 7,453 at 7:01 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.