Wall Street digested a flood of mostly positive earnings reports from leading technology companies this week. Next week, the likes of Compaq and Texas will take center stage.
With the exception of a brisk run-up Thursday, technology stocks struggled to build any momentum this week despite the generally solid earnings reports.
For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 79 points to 10,733.56 while the Nasdaq slid 152 points to finish at 4,093.76.
Investors weren't quite sure what to make of Fed Chief Alan Greenspan's comments to Congress this week. While Greenspan pointed out that consumer spending seems to be slowing a bit, he reiterated his concerns that a tight labor market combined with higher energy prices might force the Fed to raise interests again in August.
"Greenspan removed a big cloud of uncertainty with regards to interest rates and the Fed's perception of the economy," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at Prime Charter Ltd.
July's unemployment figures along with the Consumer Price and Producer Price indices will likely dictate the future of interest rates in August.
On the earnings front, Microsoft, Intel, Sun Microsystems and IBM all posted better-than-expected earnings this quarter. While there were some disappointing profit warnings from the likes of Lucent Technologies and Agilent, most tech companies are expecting robust growth through the end of the year.
On the Internet side, AOL, Inktomi and About.com all delivered strong sales and earnings this quarter, prompting speculation that some of these 'Net bellwethers might be on the verge of another run-up heading into the crucial fourth quarter.
Looking ahead to next week, it's another smorgasbord of earnings reports.
Last quarter, TI hurdled Street estimates when it posted a profit of $470 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $2.65 billion.
Next week, Compaq will post its second-quarter results with First Call Corp. consensus looking for a profit of 21 cents a share.
In the first quarter, Compaq slipped past analysts' estimates, earning $281 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $9.51 billion.
First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn 12 cents a share, up from the $85.8 million, or 11 cents a share, it raked in last quarter.
First Call Corp. consensus expects it to 35 cents a share in the quarter.
Last quarter, Amazon.com lost $122 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $574 million.