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The week ahead: Interest rate adjustment?

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan finds himself in a predicament this time around, because while the stock market needs a catalyst, the economy continues to give mixed signals.

Following are some of the notable tech-related events scheduled for the week of March 19 through March 23.

The Federal Open Market Committee will meet as Wall Street waits for an interest rate cut.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan finds himself in a predicament this time around, because while the stock market needs a catalyst, the economy continues to give mixed signals.

The Nasdaq is down 60 percent from its record peak this time last year, but the latest U.S. economic data--such as the Producer Price Index, as well as consumer confidence and housing reports released last week--suggest the economy is starting to show signs of life.

In other news, Applied Materials will hold a shindig in New York where the invitees will be feted by none other than Ray Charles. The company will also have new products to talk about.

AltaVista will introduce a news search service that the company will trumpet as delivering up-to-the-minute headlines and analysis.

The CeBIT computer show will kick off in Germany. Several new products using Midori are expected to be on display. Midori, Transmeta's version of Linux for mobile devices, will soon be launched in smaller Crusoe-based mobile gadgets. Also look for the first versions of Athlon-based notebooks to be out in force.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service will tell Congress how many H-1B visas have been issued this fiscal year. With nary a week going by without a big layoff announcement, some of the folks on Capitol Hill are under pressure from constituents to lower the bar.

The information was gathered from First Call, Hoover's Online, CCBN's StreetEvents and CNET Investor.

Other events scheduled this week:

Tech Events
Monday, March 19
  • The Optical Fiber Communications conference will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., March 17-22. The event caters to the optical networking industry and will showcase developments in optical fiber communication systems, networks and software. Featured speakers are Vab Goel, a partner at Norwest Venture Partners and Robert Lucky, a vice president of applied research at Telcordia Technologies.

  • VentureOne will host its annual VentureOne Summit at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, Calif., March 19-21. The conference is organized for venture capitalists, corporate investors and analysts and features presentations by venture-backed companies. Speakers will include Charles Schwab Co-CEO David Pottruck.

  • SEMInvest will take place at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, March 19-21 and will be hosted by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, a chip industry trade group. The conference will focus on trends in the semiconductor industry.

  • The SGI Global Developer Conference is scheduled for March 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, Calif. The event is for software developers working with SGI's products.

  • Software maker Novell will kick off its Brianshare 2001 developer conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 18-23 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Speakers include Novell CEO Eric Schmidt and Jack Messman, CEO of Cambridge Technology Partners.

  • Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will conduct an invitation-only press event on the company campus in Redmond, Wash., to unveil the next step in Microsoft's .Net software-as-a-service strategy.

  • Intel plans to launch its 1GHz mobile Pentium III chip for notebooks Monday, along with a 900MHz mobile Pentium III and a 750MHz mobile Celeron chip.

  • The Open eBook Forum, an international electronic book trade association, will hold its Annual Members Meeting and Open House on March 18-21, in conjunction with the Salon du Livre (Paris Book Fair).

  • Inside will sponsor the 2001 Book Industry Summit at the Millennium Hotel in New York City on March 19 to focus on the technological, financial, creative, logistical and human problems facing the publishing industry. Keynote speakers include Peter Olson, CEO of Random House; Susan Lyne, executive vice president of Movies and Miniseries at ABC Entertainment; and Michael Wolf, a director at McKinsey.

Tuesday, March 20

  • CTIA Wireless will take place at the Sands Expo & Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas on March 20-21. The event is geared toward hardware and software makers in the wireless industry. Keynote speakers include Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft; Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel; Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computer; Chris Galvin, CEO of Motorola; Jorma Ollila; CEO of Nokia; Kurt Hellstrom, president of Ericsson; and Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo.

  • The Federal Office Systems Exposition takes place at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, March 20-22. The event is for information technology decision-makers working for federal, state and local governments as well as the military and private corporations. Speakers include Craig Mundie, senior vice president of Advanced Strategies at Microsoft.

  • The CTAM Digital and Pay Per View runs March 20-22 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. The event provides attendees the chance to learn about video on demand (VOD) and interactive TV services. Speakers include Dave Barford, COO of Charter Communications.

  • The Game Developers Conference convenes at the San Jose Convention Center, in San Jose, Calif., March 20-24. Keynote speakers include Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks.

Wednesday, March 21

  • On Wednesday, Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Scott McNealy will unveil in New York the company's most important new product in years, its midrange Unix servers using the new UltraSparc III chip. Though much delayed, analysts believe the systems will do reasonably well, particularly because customers will be able to get features previously available only in Sun's aging but expensive top-end E10000 server.


Monday, March 19

  • Net2Phone's services let people make phone calls over the Internet. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal second quarter: loss of 29 cents.

  • Solectron is a contract manufacturer of electronic parts. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal second quarter: profit of 29 cents.

Tuesday, March 20

  • Jabil Circuit makes circuit boards and components for computer equipment makers. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal second quarter: profit of 20 cents.

Wednesday, March 21

  • 3Com makes networking equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal third quarter: loss of 35 cents.

  • Micron Technology makes semiconductor memory components. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal second quarter: profit of 1 cent.

  • 24/7 Media provides online advertising services to Web sites. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth quarter: loss of 50 cents.

  • Liberate Technologies makes Web access software for phones, cable set-top boxes, and handheld computers. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal third quarter: loss of 12 cents.

Thursday, March 23

  • WebMD operates health information Web sites. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth quarter: loss of 16 cents.

  • Red Hat sells its own version of Linux software, operating system software for PCs and Internet servers. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal fourth quarter: loss of 1 cent.

Economic Reports

Tuesday, March 20

  • The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-setting arm of the Federal Reserve, meets to discuss interest rates. The general consensus on Wall Street is that interest rates will be lowered.

  • Analysts expect a deficit in January of -$33.0 billion for the Trade Balance, or the value of U.S. imports subtracted from exports, compared with -$33.0 billion in December as reported monthly by the Commerce Department.

  • The Treasury Budget is a monthly report of the surplus or deficit of the U.S. government from the Department of Treasury. The deficit is expected to increase in February to -$42.0 billion from -$41.7 billion in January.

Wednesday, March 21

  • The Consumer Price Index is expected to rise 0.1 percent in February from last month's rise of 0.6 percent. The core PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to rise 0.2 percent from January's 0.3 percent increase. This Labor Department index tracks the change in prices at the consumer level.

Thursday, March 22

  • Initial Claims refers to the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits each week as reported by the Department of Labor. Claims will be reported for the week of March 17.

  • The index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) is expected to fall 0.1 percent for February as compiled by the Conference Board, a business group. In January, the LEI rose 0.8 percent. The index, designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle, is a combination of 10 indicators, including consumer expectations, money supply data, and the change in housing permits issued.

    Staff writers Larry Barrett and Charles Cooper contributed to this report.