The limbo game will continue next week as investors and analysts see whether another round of technology bellwethers can go even lower than their preannouncements have predicted. Amazon.com, Compaq Computer, Lucent and a slew of telecommunications companies are slated to report their quarterly results.
With the exception of Amazon, which said it would top previous projections, all major companies reporting this week have lowered the bar for themselves. All have blamed the insidious economic downturn--something investors will also be scrutinizing, as a few key economic indicators are on deck.
The Consumer Confidence report, a key gauge of consumer spending patterns, is due out Tuesday, and a Durable Goods Orders report, which indicates manufacturing activity, will hit the markets Wednesday.
On Friday, a report on the Gross Domestic Product--the broadest measure of economic activity and a closely watched inflation indicator--will fill in the week's last piece of the economic puzzle.
These reports often move the markets because analysts and investors use them to gauge whether the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates. But such economic news may garner less attention than usual if last week's surprise interest-rate cut has appeased Fed watchers for the time being.
Other events scheduled this week:
- Commerce One will host the eLink 2001 conference in New Orleans, April 23-26. The event will focus on how business-to-business software and systems can help companies become more efficient. Speakers will include retired U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commerce One CEO Mark Hoffman and Intel Vice President Michael Aymar.
- The National Association of Broadcasters will kick off NAB 2001 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 21-26. The conference and exhibition is for people in the radio, television and related media industries. Keynote speakers will include Lou Dobbs, host of the "Lou Dobbs/NBC Financial Report," and John Gage, chief researcher at Sun Microsystems.
- Active Communications International will host Peer-to-Peer Networking at the Swissotel in Boston, April 23-24. The conference will focus on how the business community can profit from peer-to-peer technology.
- Frost & Sullivan will host the Business Intelligence Conference and Exhibition in Miami, April 23-26. The conference is for business executives who want to learn about using and gathering competitive intelligence to make decisions. Keynote speakers include Bill Baker, a general manager at Microsoft.
Tuesday, April 24
- Thomas Hazlett, a former chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission, will give a speech April 24 that examines the Microsoft case at the University of California at Davis.
- Internet Healthcare 2001 will take place at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York, April 24-25. The event is for individuals to exchange ideas about how the Web can change health care.
Wednesday, April 25
- Chief Scientist Bill Joy and Chief Researcher John Gage of Sun Microsystems will host a Webcast on April 25 about Project JXTA, Sun's peer-to-peer computing initiative.
- BusinessWeek will host Telecom Summit: Broadband Connections at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, April 25-27. The event is geared toward senior executives to discuss the latest developments in the broadband industry.
Thursday, April 26
- Chipmaker Intel will hold an analyst meeting at the Equitable Auditorium in New York. Speakers will include Intel CEO Craig Barret.
- Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices will hold its shareholders meeting at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.
- The New York Society of Security Analysts will hold the Amazon.com Forum at One World Trade Center, Suite 4447, 44th Floor, New York (another forum will be held May 10). The meeting will give Amazon shareholders the opportunity to exchange ideas and views on the company and its board of directors. The May 10 meeting will give five incumbent directors who have nominated themselves for re-election to the company's board the opportunity to respond to shareholder concerns.
- The Center for Science and Technology will host the Technology and Us conference at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif.. The event will address how the Internet transforms work, organizations and commerce and redefines individual, family and cultural identity. Panelists include James Morgan, CEO of Applied Materials, and John Morgridge, chairman of Cisco Systems.
Monday, April 23
- Compaq Computer makes PCs, servers and mainframe computers. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 13 cents.
- SBC Communications delivers phone and data services to business and individual consumers. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 51 cents.
- Novellus Systems makes semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 61 cents.
- Extended Systems is a mobile data management company in the process of being acquired by Palm. The value of the deal, scheduled to close in June, has been cut in half, but analysts expect it to go through. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal third quarter: loss of 16 cents.
Tuesday, April 24
- AT&T Wireless provides mobile phone service. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 3 cents.
- Qwest Communications International provides communications services to businesses and individuals. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 13 cents.
- AT&T provides a variety of communications services to businesses and individuals. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 5 cents.
- Flextronics is a contract manufacturer of computers and electronics equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: profit of 24 cents.
- EarthLink provides Internet access to consumers as well as domain registration, e-commerce services and Web hosting. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: loss of 38 cents.
- Lucent Technologies makes telecom equipment for phone service providers. Per-share consensus estimate for fiscal second quarter: loss of 23 cents.
- Amazon.com is an e-commerce Web site. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: loss of 25 cents.
- BMC Software makes software for corporate databases. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal fourth quarter: 24 cents.
- LSI Logic produces chips for communications and network equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 3 cents.
- Agere Systems, a former subsidiary of Lucent Technologies, manufactures components for communications equipment. No consensus estimates were available.
- Macromedia makes graphics and animation software for the Internet. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal fourth quarter: profit of 20 cents.
- New Focus manufactures optical equipment for communications service providers. Per-share consensus estimate for first quarter: loss of 2 cents.
- Qualcomm makes software and chips for mobile phones. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal second quarter: profit of 29 cents.
- Symantec develops and sells security software for computers and networks. Per-share consensus estimate for fiscal fourth quarter: profit of 61 cents.
- WorldCom delivers communications services. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 25 cents.
- L-3 Communications makes components for communications equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 38 cents.
- Alcatel builds communications equipment for service providers. Per-share consensus estimate for first quarter: profit of 11 cents.
- Siemens produces chips, mobile phones, communications equipment and many other kinds of industrial products. No estimates were available.
- Webvan operates a Web-based delivery service. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: loss of 19 cents.
- Corvis constructs equipment for optical communications networks. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: loss of 7 cents.
- Exodus Communications provides Web hosting and data services that help companies operate their Web sites. Per-share consensus estimate: loss of 28 cents.
- Corning manufactures glass products including optical fiber used in communications networks. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 28 cents.
- JDS Uniphase is a maker of components used in telecom and networking equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal third quarter: profit of 14 cents.
- MP3.com operates a Web site where visitors can download music in the MP3 file format. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: loss of 8 cents.
- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is an outsource manufacturer of chips. Per-share consensus estimate for the first quarter: profit of 14 cents.
Tuesday, April 24
- Consumer Confidence will be reported by the Conference Board for the month of April. This index represents consumer sentiment toward the economy, and analysts expect the index to drop to 112 from the previous month's 117.
- Durable Goods Orders represents the percentage increase or decrease of big-ticket items purchased, such as washing machines and refrigerators as reported monthly by the Commerce Department. Economists use the number to measure demand in the economy. No estimates were available for March, but orders fell 0.2 percent in February.
- The National Association of Realtors reports Existing Home Sales for the month of March, representing the number of previously built homes sold nationwide. The data indicates the strength of housing demand and of the overall economy on the premise that the more consumers buy homes, cars and other high-ticket items, the hotter the economy is. Analysts estimate that 5.2 million homes were sold in March vs. 5.18 million in February.
- The Commerce Department reports monthly New Home Sales figures, which represent the number of new homes sold in the United States and serve as another measure of demand in the economy. Economists expect sales for March to increase to 925,000 from 911,000 in February.
- Initial Claims refers to the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits each week as reported by the Department of Labor. Market watchers expect claims for the week of April 21 to fall to 380,000 from 385,000 for the previous week.
- The Labor Department's Employment Cost Index measures monthly changes in compensation costs, including wages, salaries and costs to employers for employee benefits. Analysts expect the index to rise 1.1 percent for the first quarter vs. the previous quarter's increase of 0.8 percent
- The Conference Board will release its March Help Wanted Index, a monthly survey of the volume of help-wanted advertising in major national newspapers. Wall Street uses the index to measure trends in job growth.
- The Commerce Department will report preliminary Gross Domestic Product numbers for the first quarter of 2001. GDP represents the nation's total output of goods and services. Analysts expect GDP for the quarter to increase 1.5 percent from the previous quarter's jump of 1 percent.
- The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is a measure of consumer confidence as reported monthly by the University of Michigan. Experts expect the index to tick up to 88 in April from March's 87.8.