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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Can earnings sustain Fed euphoria?

A positive report from IBM may help techs live up to the high expectations set by yesterday's interest rate cut. Asian markets were up while Europe moved down, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.

U.S.

Wednesday's surprise move from the Federal Reserve--an inter-meeting cut to interest rates--set off a huge rally, leaving the Nasdaq up 8 percent for the session.

A batch of positive earnings reports could help sustain those gains Thursday. IBM (NYSE: IBM) posted a first-quarter profit in line with analysts' estimates Wednesday. Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) also posted earnings that topped expectations; it reported 11 cents a share for its fiscal second quarter, a dime above what analysts expected. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) topped first-quarter earnings estimates as well, and said it expects to meet analysts' earnings forecasts for all of 2001.

On deck for Thursday are earnings from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW), PC maker Gateway (GTW) and online auctioneer eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY).

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Advanced Micro Devices, Apple, IBM, i2 Technologies and Siebel Systems.

Blue-chip and technology stocks posted huge gains Wednesday after the Federal Reserve Board surprised investors with a half-point cut in short-term interest rates. The Nasdaq composite rocketed up 156 points, or 8 percent, to 2,079.64, while the Dow Jones industrial average stormed up 399 points, or 4 percent, to finish at 10,615.64.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open 10 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was off 1.22 points to 1245 at 7:15 a.m. EDT in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 17 to 195.17.

Asia

Trading in Asia was up. The Nikkei 225 rose 226.49 to 13,868.28, Singapore's Strait Times index rose 39.96 to 1,645.94 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 576.15 to 13,548.95.

Europe

European markets were in the red. London's FTSE 100 fell 39.70 to 5,850.50, the CAC 40 in Paris shed 54.32 to 5,450.76 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 40.07 to 6,124.81.

Reuters contributed to this report.