MARKET PREVIEW: Techs await Greenspan

2 min read

A speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will make or break the day for techs Wednesday. Asia and Europe were mixed, and the Dow is set to open flat to slightly higher.


Investors awaited Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony before a House committee Wednesday, desperate for signs the central bank would cut interest rates sometime soon.

Usually, the second part of Greenspan's semi-annual monetary policy testimony mirrors the first part. But earlier this week, Fed spokesmen indicated the chairman would modify his initial comments made Feb. 13. In that speech, he emphasized that the U.S. was not in a recession.

Tuesday's reports on consumer confidence and durable goods indicated that the U.S. economy is slowing faster than expecting, spurring hopes of another rate cut. Investors will be eyeing the Commerce Department's revised reading on fourth-quarter gross domestic report data, a broad measure of the nation's economy, Wednesday. Economists expect the annual growth rate to be revised down to 1.1 percent from the original 4 percent.

Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR) should see lots of attention after issuing its second warning. The company said late Tuesday that it will miss analysts' estimates by a wide margin for the second consecutive quarter, blaming sluggish resale rates and an oversupply of inventory for the shortfall.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Altera, Avanex, Chartered Semiconductor and Talk.com.

Technology stocks gave back Monday's gains and then some after a pair of ominous economic reports hit Wall Street. The Nasdaq composite lost 101 points to close at 2,207.79.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open 10 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 1.2 points to 1265.30 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 17 to 221.35.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 shed 176.32 to 1,2883.54, Singapore's Strait Times index rose 10.26 to 1,947.4 lost 14.91 to 1,961.22 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 46.86 to 1,4787.87.


European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 rose 14.40 to 5,955.6 the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 59.61 to 5,378.15 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 12.99 to 6,207.49 at 7:25 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.