Techs should continue to rise on earnings, IPOs, and a wave of news Friday that could boost Internet issues. Asia was down, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open flat to slightly lower.
A host of earnings winners, and a few disappointments, will continue to pop up or fizzle on Friday's markets.
The allure of all-that-is-Internet is beckoning more traditional tech companies to divide and shed; Microsoft Corp.(MSFT) may create a tracking stock for its Internet holdings in order to fund Web-related acquisitions and attract top executives drawn by the ".com" promise, according to Friday's Wall Street Journal. Microsoft is also expected to top earnings estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter when it reports results Monday.
Microsoft's announcement follows Thursday's release of that Japan's Softbank Corp.'s plans to restrict its $15 billion investment portfolio purely to Internet companies, selling its stakes in Kingston Technology and other companies. The announcement initially sent its shares to a record high, until they tumbled on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) Friday after Warburg Dillon Reed downgraded the stock from a "hold" to a "sell." Softbank holds 70 percent of Ziff-Davis, which is also considering strategic alternatives in light of the Softbank move.
On the economic front, stocks are likely to glide on Thursday's inflation friendly news from the Fed, unruffled by Friday's announcement of industrial production for June. The growth rate is expected to come in at 0.2 percent, the same as in May. Capacity utilization, also indicative of industrial demand,is expected to dip to 80.4 percent, slightly below the previous month's 80.5 percent.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Altera Corp. (Nasdaq: ALTR), Allaire Corp. (Nasdaq: ALLR), AVT Corp. (Nasdaq: AVTC), Concord Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CCRD), CNet Inc. (Nasdaq: CNET), MMC Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: MMCN), Paradyne Networks (Proposed ticker: PDYN), Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: SEG), and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN).
More good news from the Labor Department helped bolster technology stocks again Thursday as the Nasdaq composite picked up 21 points to close at another record high of 2,839.31. The Dow added 38 points to finish at 11,186.41.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 0.3 to 322.12.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may inch about 2 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 0.6 points to 1418 at 7:35 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
Trading in Asia was down. The Nikkei 225 sunk 1.00 percent to 18,248. Singapore's Strait Times index lost 1.09 percent to 2,134 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.55 percent to 13,545, still suffering form China-Taiwan tension.
European markets were mostly down. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.02 percent to 6,573. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.12 to percent to 4,671 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt dropped 0.32 percent to 5,601 at 6:50 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.