Intel's big disappointment, along with presidential politics and the release of the November jobless report, should hold the attention of investors Friday. European markets were all up, Asia was mixed and the Dow is set to open lower.
Chip giant Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) warned Thursday after market close that it will miss fourth-quarter sales, mainly because several large customers cancelled significant orders. The company, which did not comment on earnings, now expects revenues to be sequentially flat or slightly above or below last quarter.
Intel is the latest company in the PC sector to revise its numbers. In the last two weeks, Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL), Gateway (NYSE: GTW) and Micron Electronics (Nasdaq: MUEI), among others, have all lowered their guidance due to slumping demand.
In the ongoing presidential election, three crucial decisions may come as early as today. The Florida Supreme Court is considering an appeal from a lower court decision that denied hand counted ballots in two Florida counties. Separately, two circuit court judges are poised to rule on whether to disallow absentee ballots in Seminole and Martin counties because of alleged tampering.
Democrat Al Gore needs at least one favorable ruling to keep his bid for the White House alive.
Another key economic indicator is due out before the bell. The November jobless report will be closely watched by investors, following on the heels of Tuesday's rally-sparking remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Ask Jeeves (Nasdaq: ASKJ), Emulex (Nasdaq: EMLX), Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), Three-Five Systems (Nasdaq: TFS).
The Nasdaq closed Thursday's session off 43.84 to 2,752.66. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47.02 to 10,617.36.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open down 21.5 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for December futures contracts slipped 2.7 to 1334 at 7:20 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index dropped 5 to 354.17.
The major Asian markets were mixed. The Nikkei 225 slipped 23.85 to 14,696.51. Hong Kong's Hang Seng moved up 177.81 to 15,189.33 and Singapore's Strait Times inched up 1.43 to 1,960.16.
European markets were positive as well. London's FTSE 100 was up 95.3 to 6,326.70, the CAC 40 in Paris rose 65.13 to 6,049.82 and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 110.18 to 6,676.26 at 7:13 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.