Too much of a good thing may exhaust Wall Street as another flood of positive reports hit the market. Asian markets were mixed while Europe moved down, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.
After posting strong gains again Thursday, technology stocks will have to decide whether another round of strong earnings reports merits a continuation of the rally that was sparked by the Federal Reserve's surprise interest-rate cut early in the week.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was one of last night's positive surprises. The software maker's earnings and revenue topped forecasts for its fiscal third quarter. But the software maker warned of slightly lower-than-forecast earnings for the fourth quarter and its next fiscal year.
Among other big-name techs participating in earnings show-and-tell Thursday was Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) reported earnings late Thursday in line with analysts' estimates, and warned that its current quarter will come up a little short of forecasts. eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY)'s first-quarter earnings topped estimates, and the online auctioneer said it was comfortable with estimates for the next two quarters. Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), the telecom equipment maker, reported a first-quarter loss in line with lowered forecasts and said it will cut 5,000 more jobs than originally planned.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: eBay, Gateway, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.
Technology stocks took flight in late trading Thursday, sending the Nasdaq composite up 103 points, or 5 percent, to close at 2,182.02. The Dow Jones industrial average scampered up 78 points to finish at 10,693.58.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 18 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was off 2.20 points to 1256 at 7:15 a.m. EDT in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 15 to 209.85.
Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 shed 102.61 to 13,765.67, Singapore's Strait Times index rose 10.25 to 1,656.19 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 100.82 to 1,3448.13 .
European markets were in the red. London's FTSE 100 fell 14.00 to 5,857.60, the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.10 to 5479.95 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 34.36 to 6,147.55.
Reuters contributed to this report.