MARKET PREVIEW: Techs shudder at Fed warning

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Ominous comments from a Fed official could spook techs again Thursday, as they assess some new economic data and a batch of earnings. Asian markets were mixed, Europe was down, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


Comments by some Federal Reserve decision makers Wednesday could stir speculation that that interest rates will continue to be jacked up even as the economy cools. Some new economic data and earnings reports will also get investors' attention.

"In order to prevent a re-emergence of inflationary pressures and, in doing so, to sustain the expansion, U.S. monetary policy must allow short-term real interest rates to rise," said Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Alfred Broaddus. Broaddus also said, in his speech to the Austrian National Bank's conference early Thursday, that there was still a clear need for interest rates to rise despite tentative signs that the 10-year economic expansion was starting to slow.

Another economic tidbit will be thrown in to the mix at 9:15 a.m. EST; a report on industrial production and capacity utilization in May is expected to show a decline of 0.3 percent in May. Capacity utilization is expected to have fallen to 81.6 percent from 82.1 percent in April.

On the earnings front, Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE), Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) and Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) will report quarterly results Thursday.

In IPO news, eChapman.com (Nasdaq: ECMN) priced at $13 a share for debut.

Thursday's most actively traded issues should include: Adobe Systems, AVT, IDT, Performance Technologies and Tecnomatix.

A tame Consumer Price Index report helped lift blue-chip stocks Wednesday but technology stocks retreated. The Dow Jones industrial average moved up 66 points to 10,687.95 while the Nasdaq composite shaved off 53 points to 3,797.58.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 31 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 4.3 to 1502 at 7:40 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 6 to 471.41.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.90 to 16,388, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 0.03 percent to 2,035 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.41 percent to 16,080.


European markets were headed down. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.24 percent to 6,250. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.59 percent to 6,569 and the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.08 percent to 7,345 at 7:05 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.