MARKET PREVIEW: Economic data adds flavor to earnings menu

2 min read

Economic news and a Greenspan speech will add variety to the earnings onslaught Tuesday. Asian and European markets moved down, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is slated to speak at his confirmation hearing before the Senate committee. Investors will have their ears perked for hints as to the Fed's next move on interest rates at their February 2 meeting.

December's existing home sales and the measure of consumer confidence for January are both slated for release Tuesday morning. Home sales are expected to have fallen to a rate of 5 million from the 5.09 million reported for November. Consumer confidence, released by the Conference Board, is expected to rise to 142.5 from 141.4 in December.

The markets should be busy with a whole new slew of earnings reports, though a snow storm in New York could dampen trading volume. AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) and SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), two big telecommunications companies and Dow components, report earnings Tuesday, as does Xerox Corp (NYSE: XRX) and Tellabs (Nasdaq: TLAB). Technology companies set to release results after the bell include Compaq Computers (NYSE: CPQ), Computer Associates (NYSE: CA), Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY).

Results from after Monday's bell will also hit the markets this morning; Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) posted better than expected fourth-quarter results, and rose 1/4 to 110 in after-hours trading.

724 Solutions (Proposed ticker: SVNX), a maker of wireless applications for banking and financial services, is expected to be the season's second big IPO; 6 million shares will price between an estimated $11 to $13 each.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: About.com, Compuware, Digital Island, Hyperion Solutions, SGI and WebTrends.

Technology and blue-chip stocks took a beating Monday as investors pulled their money out of stocks and gobbled up bonds. The Nasdaq composite fell 139 points to 4,096.26 while the Dow Jones industrial average closed off 244 points to 11,008.17.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 25 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 3.2 points to 1415 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 9 to 558.29.


Trading in Asia was down. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.85 percent to 18,895, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 1.14 percent to 2,238 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.43 percent to 15,103.


European markets were also down across the board. London's FTSE 100 lost 1.35 percent to 6,293. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 1.17 percent to 5,624 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.96 percent to 6,866 at 7:05 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.