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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye warnings, economic data

    Investors will digest the latest batch of tech warnings along with a number of economic reports on Thursday, a day after the Fed dashed hopes of an immediate interest rate cut. Markets in Europe and Asian continued to slide and the Dow is set to open lower.

    U.S.

    A number of technology companies are singing that familiar profit warning song. Gateway (NYSE: GTW), Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM), Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX) and 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) all warned of earnings and revenue shortfalls for upcoming quarters.

    Shares of Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) fell 11 percent in pre-session trading after the company's stock was cut to "neutral" from "accumulate" at Merrill Lynch. For good measure, Salomon Smith Barney also downgraded Broadcom.

    Thursday is shaping up to be a busy day on the economic front. The National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) will release its February numbers, with economists projecting a slight rise to 42 from 41.2 the previous month.

    Other reports due include a U.S. government report on personal income, which is expected to show a 0.5 percent rise for January, up from a 0.4 percent rise in December. Personal spending is projected to jump 0.6 percent after a 0.3 percent December rise. Initial jobless claim figures for last week, as well as reports on construction spending and auto sales are also on the slate.

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Gateway (NYSE: GTW), Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM), Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX) and 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS).

    Comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who testified before a Congress committee on Wednesday, dashed hopes for a imminent interest rate cut. Greenspan suggested that a rate cut is likely at the Fed's Mar. 20 meeting but he disappointed investors who had been looking for an earlier reduction.

    Investors continued to unload technology stocks on Wednesday. The Nasdaq slumped to its lowest point since 1998, losing 55.99 to 2,151.83. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 141.60 to 10,495.28.

    At the Bell

    The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to down 45 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 futures index slipped 5.30 to 1236.70 at 7:50 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

    The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index lost 6 to 215.15.

    Asia

    The major Asian markets took a big hit. A surprise interest rate cut from the Bank of Japan could not stop the Nikkei 225 from falling to its lowest level in 15 years. Japan's top index shed 201.88 to 12,681.66. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 427.31 to 14,360.56, and Singapore's Straights Times closed down 35.63 to 1,911.77.

    Europe

    European markets were also in the red. London's FTSE 100 was off 29.70 to 5,888.20, the CAC 40 in Paris shed 59.21 to 5,308.27, and the DAX in Frankfurt traded down 84.89 to 6123.35 at 7:22 a.m. EST.

    ZDII staff and Reuters contributed to this roundup.