THE WEEK AHEAD: Bouncing off the bottom

2 min read

Technology stocks moved higher this week after a series of mostly positive quarterly earnings reports. Investors hope the trend continues next week when another round of earnings reports hit the wire.

For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 34 points to 10,226.22 while the Nasdaq composite shot up 166 points to finish at 3,482.64.

Despite the strong rally on mostly positive earnings reports, some analysts are convinced the market's finally hit its bottom.

"The chance that the market has actually hit bottom is actually pretty small," said Edgar Peters, chief investment strategist at PanAgora Asset Management. "There's some positive news after some negative news, but whether the buying is sustainable is doubtful -- there isn't any reason to think things are any better now than they were a couple of days ago, they just haven't gotten any worse."

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) delivered one of the more impressive earnings reports this week, posting a first-quarter profit of $2.58 billion, or 46 cents a share, on sales of $5.8 billion.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 41 cents a share in the quarter.

Company officials credited strong sales of its Windows software for the upside surprise.

Microsoft shares jumped more than $10 a share on the news.

eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) beat the Street in its third quarter, raking in $19.1 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $113.4 million.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 4 cents a share.

Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) wasn't as fortunate after it missed analysts' reduced estimates and cut its outlook for 2001.

In the quarter, it earned $108 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $1.87 billion.

CFO Fred Anderson said the company now expects just a "slight" profit on first quarter revenue of $1.6 billion, and full year earnings per share of $1.10 to $1.25 on revenue of $7.5 billion to $8 billion, approximately flat with 2000.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 45 cents in the first quarter and $1.73 for the full year.

Looking ahead to next week, Compaq Computer (NYSE: CPQ) highlights another busy week of quarterly earnings reports.

First Call Corp. consensus expects Compaq to earn 29 cents a share in its third quarter.

Last quarter, Compaq met analysts' estimates, earning $387 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $10.1 billion.

Company officials said Friday that it is comfortable with third quarter channel inventory levels, in response to industry concerns.

JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU) will also report its first-quarter earnings next week with analysts expecting a profit of 16 cents a share.

In the fourth quarter, JDS Uniphase raked in $114 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $524 million.

Siebel Systems will get its chance to impress investors when it reports its third-quarter results.

Last quarter, it pocketed $54.8 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $387.4 million.

Analysts are looking for 11 cents a share this time around.