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Tech Industry

THE WEEK AHEAD: AMD, Motorola headline earnings barrage

    After a tumultuous week of trading, investors will turn their focus to the beginning of the heavy earnings season. Gateway, AMD and Motorola are all due to report first-quarter earnings next week.

    For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average moved up 190 points to 11,111.48 while the Nasdaq composite fell 126 points to 4,446.45.

    "Stocks go up. Stocks go down," said Mark Specker, an analyst at Wit SoundView. "Some of the professionals have more protection from these wild swings than the average investor. I've seen several of these tech selloffs in the past. This wasn't even close to what I'd call panic."

    But it did appear that Wednesday when the Nasdaq plunged more than 570 points in early trading before rallying back 500 points in the final two of trading.

    Technology stocks were especially vulnerable as investors took a breath and re-evaluated their positions.

    "This is not the kind of market that is going to take it on the chin for more than a few days at a time," said Larry Rice, chief investment officer at Josephthal Lyon & Ross, noting the rebound in tech leaders after a steep slide early this week. "We had that big downdraft and everybody was ready to bury the stocks, but of course we bought them back on the dips, as we have for the last year."

    Helping matters Friday was the U.S. jobs report which showed that nonfarm payrolls grew by 416,000 and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in March. Economists had forecast that payrolls would rise by 376,000 and the jobless rate would dip to 4 percent.

    The jobs numbers could be a key for the Federal Reserve as it ponders whether to raise rates again to cool the economy and forestall inflation.

    The central bank's rate-setting panel next meets on May 16. The Fed has raised short-term rates five times since June 1999, and Wall Street has already factored in another 0.25 percentage point rise.

    Looking ahead to next week, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) provides perhaps the most interesting earnings report.

    The chipmaker soared to a 52-week high this week after telling the Street it expects first-quarter sales in excess of $1 billion, up 10 percent from the previous quarter.

    Last quarter, AMD shattered analysts' estimates, earning $65 million, or 43 cents a share, on sales of $969 million.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn 51 cents a share in the quarter, with its high-end Athlon chips leading the charge.

    Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is also expected to post strong earnings this quarter as it and other chipmakers ride this upswing in the world semiconductor market.

    Analysts expect Motorola to earn 58 cents a share in the quarter, up from the fourth quarter when it pocketed $514 million, or 82 cents a share, on sales of $8.5 billion.

    Finally, PC-maker Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) will also report its first-quarter results.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn 41 cents a share.

    Last quarter, Gateway earned $139.3 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $2.45 billion.