Another key inflationary measure looks to set the tone for Wall Street Thursday while Applied Materials should see some action. Asian and European markets were mixed, and the Dow is set to open lower.
Another key economic measure is due out this morning. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) number will be released before the market opens, at 8:30 EST. According to a Reuters report, economists, on average, expect a 0.2 percent rise compared with a 0.5 percent rise in September. Excluding volatile food and energy items, CPI is seen up 0.2 percent compared with a 0.3 percent increase in the prior month. At the same time, the Labor Department will release its first time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended November 11.
Yesterday, as expected, the Federal Reserve left short-term interest rates unchanged and said that it continues to be wary of signs of accelerating inflation.
Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) should be active in today's session. The chip-equipment maker company topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $664 million, or 77 cents a share, on sales of $2.92 billion. This was a penny better than the First Call consensus number.
Shares of specialty chip-maker Altera Corp (Nasdaq: ALTR) were down nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday following the company's release of third-quarter results. Altera's numbers matched but did not exceed analysts' estimates.
On the IPO front, Novatel Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: NVTL) priced at $8 a share, below its estimated range.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT), Niku (Nasdaq: NIKU) and Tellabs (Nasdaq: TLAB).
Tech stocks gained ground Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite added 27.22 to 3,165.49. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the session up 26.54 to 10,707.60.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open down 40 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for November futures contracts was off 5.3 to 1392.20 at 7:18 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 1 to 405.27.
Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 lost 212.11 to 14587.03, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 24.66 to to 1982.34 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 170.95 to 15298.35.
European markets were up and down as well. London's FTSE 100 gained 39.20 to 6471.50. The CAC 40 in Paris was off 61.19 to 6240.59 and the DAX in Frankfurt continued to slide, down 109.19 to 6851.90 at 7:09 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.