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THE WEEK AHEAD: Market drifts into doldrums

Wall Street spent the bulk of the week trying to make heads or tails of the Fed's recent decision to move toward a tightening bias for future interest-rate adjustments. What sentiment did materialize was mainly negative.

For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 84 points to 10,829.28 while the Nasdaq shaved off 7 points to end at 2,520.64.

It didn't help that the U.S. trade deficit soared to $19.7 billion in March, a record high. While most analysts are projecting a strong recovery in Asia, particularly in Japan, the markets remain unconvinced.

After this week's round of earnings, it's clear that simply doing what is expected isn't good enough for technology investors.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) watched its stock slide after it met analysts' estimates in its first quarter. Apparently earning 16 cents a share and growing sales by 41 percent compared to the year-ago quarter isn't good enough.

The ongoing price war between leading PC vendors makes Dell's investment potential murky at best. That sentiment has, for the most part, seeped into the rest of the sector.

In Lycos Inc.'s (Nasdaq: LCOS) is a bit different story. After beating Street estimates by a penny a share in its latest quarter, Lycos shares are on the move again.

It lost $1 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $35.1 million, but the strong revenue growth and prospects of another lucrative bidding war has Lycos back on the front burner.

Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) shattered analysts' estimates in its second quarter, earning 141 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $1.12 billion.

It and other chip-equipment stocks have enjoyed nice a nice run-up in the past three months and should continue as more chipmakers ramp up their 0.18 micron production.

But Internet stocks, particularly, the recently public offerings have had a rough go of it.

Ivillage Inc. (Nasdaq: IVIL) peaked at 130 in April and is now trading around 50. Marketwatch.com Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTW) did the same. And TheStreet.com Inc. (Nasdaq: TSCM) went from 71 and change to 40 in less than two weeks.

All this should be of concern to Internet investors.

With little news expected for the next few months, there won't any momentum to pull these newly issued stocks out of their funk.

For now, no news is bad news.

Stocks to Watch
AOL jumps after price target pushed to $215
AOL reaches dominant status
AOL meets 3Q whispers
Lycos narrows loss, sets 2-for-1 split
Dell slides as Wall Street worries about second half
Applied Materials tops 2Q estimates