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Tech Industry

THE WEEK AHEAD: Cisco, Applied Materials earnings on deck

Investors will be consumed by more important earnings reports next week from the likes of Cisco Systems, Applied Materials and Dell Computer.

Technology stocks took a pounding in the first half of the week before bargain hunters stepped in to grab shares of sector leaders.

For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 256 points to 10,767.75 while the Nasdaq composite gained 124 points to close at 3,787.26.

"I think people are still worried about earnings going forward," said Ned Collins, head of trading at Daiwa Securities America. "(Thursday) was a major turnaround in the Nasdaq, but I still don't think it tells us that we are out of the woods yet. I am not sure the jobs numbers tell us a whole lot of anything."

On Friday, the Labor Department said 108,000 jobs were lost in July as temporary census workers left the work force, while a boost of 58,000 jobs had been expected. The unemployment rate held steady at 4 percent in July, the same as in June.

But average hourly earnings, a measure of wage pressures, rose by 0.4 percent, matching June's rise and slightly higher than expectations of a 0.3 percent increase.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that sales of new single-family homes in June fell to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 829,000 units, the lowest since December 1997, and below May's rate of 861,000 units. Analysts had been expecting a stronger 881,000 units rate.

"We think the odds are looking more and more that there is no more Fed action for the rest of 2000," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at Prime Charter Ltd. "If the employment numbers conform to the slowing trend, we are going to move to the higher end of our trading range."

Looking ahead to next week, several key tech firms will report their quarterly earnings.

  • Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) will check in with its third-quarter earnings. First Call Corp. consensus expects the world's largest semiconductor-equipment maker to earn 68 cents a share in the quarter.

    Last quarter, Applied Materials met analysts' estimates, pocketing $454 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $2.19 billion.

    Analyst had to revise their estimates after CFO Joseph Bronson told Wall Street to expect earnings of between 64 cents to 68 cents a share in the quarter. Applied said it had a backlog going into the third quarter of more than $3.18 billion.

  • Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) will report its fourth-quarter results next week with analysts predicting a profit of 15 cents a share.

    In the third quarter, Cisco earned $1.03 billion, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $4.92 billion.

  • Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) is expected to earn 21 cents a share in its second quarter, up from the $525 million, or 19 cents a share, it earned in the first quarter.

    Dell will be particularly interesting to watch in the wake of this week's downgrade from USB Piper Jaffray's Ashok Kumar.

    Also keep an eye out for earnings from Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) and NetZero (Nasdaq: NZRO).