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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs react to another strong round

Another round of better-than-expected results should keep techs on the upswing Thursday, as investors react to results from IBM, AOL, AMD and Apple. Asian and European markets were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


All the major tech companies reporting after Wednesday's closing bell blew analysts' estimates out of the water. Highlights included the doubling of America Online's (NYSE: AOL) net income, and a surprisingly large profit from Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD). IBM (NYSE: IBM) also beat First Call's estimates, and investors lauded its results overnight, sending shares up in after-hours trading.

Adaptec (Nasdaq: ADPT), Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT), Lucent (NYSE: LU) and Gateway (NYSE: GTW) are among techs slated to report quarterly results Thursday.

As if there wasn't enough going on, two economic reports are due out Thursday as well. Figures on the U.S. trade deficit in November are expected to show the gap shrank slightly to $25 billion from October's $25.9 billion. Initial claims for unemployment for the week ended Jan. 15 are also due.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: AMD, AOL, Apple, IBM, i2 Technologies and Redback Networks.

Internet stocks picked up ground Wednesday as investors reacted to a flurry of earnings reports from technology bellwethers. The Nasdaq composite gained 20 points to close at a record high of 4,151.27 and the Dow closed off 71 points to 11,489.36.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 43 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 5.5 points to 1478 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 10 to 574.10.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.58 percent to 19,908, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 2.69 percent to 2,315, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.39 percent to 15,215.


European markets were also mixed. London's FTSE 100 lost 1.19 percent to 6,369. The CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.23 percent to 5,662 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.05 percent to 7,094 at 7:09 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.