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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs watch for earnings, IPOs, and attacks

As Net companies look out more hack attacks, investors will watch earnings and IPOs. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved down, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


After E*Trade Group Inc. (Nasdaq: EGRP) and ZDNet (NYSE: ZDZ) (Ziff-Davis is the parent company of ZDNet and ZDII) became the latest victims of hack attacks Wednesday, companies will be on guard for more trouble Thursday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation started an investigation into the attacks, which have crippled sites by overwhelming them with false traffic.

Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL), Network Solutions (Nasdaq: NSOL)and MCI Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM) are set to report earnings Thursday.

Dell, after warning investors last month that its fourth-quarter results wouldn't meet expectations because of a parts shortage and a slowdown in corporate spending, has said it will rake in about 16 cents a share. The PC-maker reports earnings after the bell.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) may get some more negative attention Thursday; the stock was down on word that the European Union was starting its own antitrust investigation of its new operating system.

A batch of IPOs is priced for take-off; B2B healthcare site (Nasadaq: XCAR), priced its 5 million shares at $18. Cypress Communications (Nasdaq: CYCO), provider of digital telephone and Internet access and to office buildings, priced 10 million shares at $17, and design consulting and services firm Organic (Nasdaq: OGNC), will offer 5.5 million shares at $20 each. Witness System, licensor of software for call center quality monitoring, raised the range in its 3.8 million share offering to $15-17, but had yet to price for its Thursday debut.

A sprinkling of economic news is also due; the report on initial jobless claims for last week is expected to show 280,000 claims were filed, compared with 275,000 the previous week.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: AppNet, Credence Systems, Harbinger and Xpedior.

Blue-chip stocks retreated Wednesday as falling bond prices and a batch of service interruptions among leading Internet sites conspired to chop 258 points off the Dow Jones industrial average. The Nasdaq shed 63 points to 4,363.87.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 30 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 4.0 points to 1422 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 5 to 593.95.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.49 percent to 19,710, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.09 percent to 2,225 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.15 percent to 16,845.


European markets were moving down. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.69 percent to 6,272. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.86 percent to 6,217 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.49 percent to 7,591 at 7:01 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.