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The week ahead: Investors look for light

Following are some of the notable tech-related events scheduled for the week of March 26 through March 30.

Following are some of the notable tech-related events scheduled for the week of March 26 through March 30.

After a rough week on Wall Street, investors will turn their attention to more earnings reports and economic data next week, hoping to find a catalyst to ignite the moribund stock market.

Topping the list of crucial data is the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index for March.

The Consumer Confidence Index, which is based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households, fell to 106.8 in February, down from 115.7 in January. The index has declined in each of the past five months, and Wall Street is expecting the March number to dip to 105.

Wall Street will also get the final Gross Domestic Product figures for the fourth quarter after initial reports showed the value of all goods and services produced in the United states grew 1.1 percent between October and December, the slowest pace in more than five years.

Meanwhile, at least four prominent technology companies report earnings next week:

• Micron Technology will finally report its second-quarter earnings next week after delaying the report earlier last week in order to collect financial data from Micron Electronics, the PC maker that's now getting out of the box business following its $130 million merger with Web hosting company Interland.

• Manugistics will check in with its fourth-quarter results next week. Analysts are expecting a profit of 5 cents a share on sales of $81.2 million.

• Palm, the maker of handheld computers, is expected to turn a third-quarter profit of a penny a share on sales of $474 million. Last quarter, it earned $27.5 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $522.2 million.

• Tech Data also will report its fourth-quarter numbers next week. The computer equipment distributor is expected to earn about 86 cents per share.

Tech Events
Monday, March 26

  • Gartner will host the Wireless Access, Mobile Business Conference at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina on March 26-28. The conference will focus on businesses uses of wireless communications. Keynote speakers include Lisa Smith of First Union, and Geoffrey Frost, Motorola's vice president of Global Marketing.

  • Microsoft will host WinHEC 2001 at the Anaheim Convention Center on March 26-28. The conference is intended for software developers, IT executives, and engineers who work with Microsoft PC products. Speakers will include Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Compaq CEO Michael Cappellas.

  • AFCOM will kick off its Spring conference and expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 26-29. The event is geared toward data center professionals and features educational sessions and presentations by BMC Software and Compaq.

  • The International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design will take place at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, Calif., on March 26-29. The event is an electronic design and design-automation conference. Keynote speakers include Hajime Sasaki, chairman of NEC; Joe Costello, CEO of think3; Raul Camposano, CTO of Synopsys; and Edward Ross, president of TSMC USA.

  • TechEd01 will take place at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, Calif., March 26-29. The event is a forum for educators to learn about how technology can enhance education. Keynote speakers include John Morgridge, chairman of Cisco Systems.

  • EDventure Holdings will hold PC Forum 2001 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Ariz., March 25-28. The event will address business issues in the Internet industry and features speakers such as CEO Jeffrey Bezos, RealNetworks CEO Robert Glaser, Exodus Communications CEO Ellen Hancock, and Commerce One CEO Mark Hoffman.

  • The USENIX Symposium on Internet Technologies and Systems runs March 26-28 at the Cathedral Hotel in San Francisco. The event features presentations and discussions on Internet software and technology. Speakers include Scott Guthery, CTO of Mobile-Mind and Mike Burrows of Compaq, a developer of the Alta Vista search engine.

Tuesday, March 27

  • A Plenary Meeting of the trade group GSM Association will take place in Seattle, Wash., March 27-29. The meeting will provide the opportunity for attendees to discuss the status and policy direction of wireless standards. The opening address will be given by John Stanton, chairman of VoiceStream Wireless.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill will speak at the sold-out 2001 Washington Economic Policy Conference, which focuses on macroeconomic policies and economic implications. The event will take place at the Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C., and is hosted by the National Association for Business Economics and the Association for University Business Economic Research.

  • Market Access International will hold a conference on the Clinger-Cohen Act at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The 1996 law gave guidelines for government agencies to follow when transitioning to the use of information technology and the conference will explore the results of the legislation.

  • International Conference Development will hold eTail Solutions World Forum in Chicago on March 27-29. The conference is for organizations seeking to expand or improve their online retail business. Speakers include Bill Price, vice president and general manager of customer service at

Wednesday, March 28

  • NewYork eComm will host Wireless 2001: Strategies & Predictions at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in New York City on March 28. Speakers include Shun Mishima, of NTT DoCoMo; David Joerg, president and co-founder of Vindigo; and Jeffrey Fieler, managing director of Internet research at Bear Stearns.

  • Venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and angel investors will converge on the Digital Coast Venture Capital Summit in Santa Monica, Calif., on March 28-29. The event will address trends in the current investment climate.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in The New York Times v. Tasini, a case that could determine whether publishers have to compensate freelancers for distributing their print articles in electronic form.

Friday, March 30

  • Columbia Women in Business Conference will take place in Lerner Hall at Columbia University in New York City. The event provides a discussion forum for women executives to tackle issues relevant to women pursuing careers in international business.


Tuesday, March 27

  • SpeedFam-IPEC makes equipment that polishes semiconductors during the manufacturing process. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal third quarter: loss of 39 cents.

  • Palm makes personal handheld computers for organizing information. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal third quarter: profit of 1 cent.

Wednesday, March 28
  • Cabletron Systems makes networking equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal fourth quarter: profit of 5 cents.

  • Global TeleSystems provides retail and wholesale phone service to customers in Europe. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth quarter: loss of 84 cents.

  • Tech Data distributes computer products. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal fourth quarter: profit of 86 cents.

Thursday, March 29
  • Corel makes software based on the Linux operating system. Per-share consensus estimate for the fiscal first quarter: profit of 3 cents.

Friday, March 30
  • Liberty Media Group is a holding company that owns stakes in media brands including USA Networks, News Corp., and the Discovery Channel. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth quarter: loss of 8 cents.
Economic Reports

Mon, March 26

  • The National Association of Realtors reports Existing Home Sales, a monthly tally that represents the number of homes sold nationwide. Economists watch such data for indications of the strength of housing demand and of the overall economy. Economists expect home sales to dip to 5.04 million in February from 5.13 million the previous month.

  • The Commerce Department will release New Home Sales figures for February, which represents the number of new homes sold in the United States. Analysts expect sales to slip to 912,000 from 921,000 in January.

Tuesday, March 27

  • Durable Goods Orders represent the change in the number of big ticket items, like washing machines and refrigerators, purchased in a month. Orders are expected to rise 0.5 percent in February compared to the previous month's decline of 6 percent.

  • The Conference Board compiles a monthly report on Consumer Confidence. Wall Street expects the index to fall to 105.0 in March from last month's 106.8.

Thursday, March 29
  • Initial Claims measures 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 24.

  • The Commerce Department will report final Gross Domestic Product numbers for the fourth quarter of 2000. GDP represents the nation's total output of goods and services. The government previously reported that GDP rose 1.1 percent for the fourth quarter.

  • The Help-Wanted Index for the month of February is a monthly survey by the Conference Board of the volume of help-wanted advertising in major national newspapers. In January, the index fell to 76 from December's 79. The index was at 88 in February, 2000.

Friday, March 30
  • Personal Income shows the monthly percentage change in household income from the Commerce Department. This number is expected to rise 0.4 percent for February compared to the previous month's increase of 0.6 percent.

  • The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is a measure of consumer confidence as reported monthly by the University of Michigan. Analysts expect revised numbers for March to fall to 90.5 from the preliminary March reading of 91.8. The February index was 90.6.

Staff writer Larry Barrett contributed to this report