Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye jobs data and IPOs

Techs will eye some high-priced IPOs and a splash of economic data Friday, as earnings trail off into the weekend. Asian and European markets were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


A whole slew of IPOs have priced for trading Friday, including some large and promising offerings. Avanex (Nasdaq: AVNX), a maker of photonic processors for optical networks, priced its 6 million shares at $36 each, more than double its initial range of $13 to $15 a share. Rural cellular operator, Dobson Communications (Nasdaq: DCEL), priced its IPO at $22, the top of its $20-22 range.

Software developer Firepond (Nasdaq: FIRE) will sell 5 million shares at $22 a piece, after their filing range was increased three times. PBX/Linux server vendor, eOn Communications (Nasdaq: EONC), priced its IPO at $12, the top of the $10-12 range, after the deal was increased by 600,000 shares to 3.6 million.

Therma Wave (Nasdaq: TWAV), maker of systems for use in semiconductor manufacturing, priced its offering of 9 million shares at $20, well above its $15-17 range. Online cattle marketplace, Emerge Interactive (Nasdaq: EMRG), priced its shares at $15, above its upwardly revised range of $12-14.

On the economic front, data on job creation, unemployment and hourly earnings for January are due out Friday. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent in December, while hourly earnings are expected to gain 0.3 percent, compared to December's 0.4 percent rise. Economists forecast 270,000 new jobs were created in January, compared with the 315,000 created in December.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: CDNow, EarthWeb, Liquid Audio, Pixar and Viant.

A plunging long-bond yield gave stocks support Thursday and Amazon's fourth quarter earnings fueled tech shares as the Nasdaq composite charged up 137 points to 4,210.92, its third-largest, single-day gain.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 3 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 0.4 points to 1470 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 19 to 1436.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.12 percent to 19,763, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 0.43 percent to 2,258 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed on account of a holiday.


European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 lost 1.80 percent to 6,210. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 1.43 percent to 6,237 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.14 percent to 7,364 at 7:07 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.