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MARKET PREVIEW: Light volume, heavy tech earnings

Investors will focus on a slew of earnings reports Friday as they look for direction in a rocky climate. Asia and Europe fell and the Dow Jones industrial average is set to open lower.

U.S.

And you thought earnings season actually ended. Nope. Investors were hit with a slew of earnings after the closing bell Thursday with telecommunications and fiber optic networking issues leading the charge.

Look for those sectors to be hot on Friday amid a light trading day overall. Volume on the Nasdaq has fallen off sharply in recent days. The summer lull may have arrived a bit early this year.

Fiber optic networking companies Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) and Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) both unveiled strong quarters. Ciena topped estimates in its fiscal second quarter with earnings of 12 cents a share, two pennies above consensus. Ciena reported sales of $185.7 million, up 66 percent from a year ago. Ciena jumped in aftermarket trading.

Sycamore Networks also topped consensus estimates with a strong third quarter. Sycamore may not move higher, however. The company told analysts not to expect growth of 50 percent to 100 percent a quarter forever.

ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT) also easily topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter and announced that CEO William Cadogan plans to retire within the next 12 to 18 months.

Among other stocks to watch Friday, keep an eye out for Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK), Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP), Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF). Also watch those Net security stocks. A new virus is hitting the Net and security stocks usually move on attacks.

IPOs made a nice return Thursday as fiber optic gear maker New Focus (Nasdaq: NUFO) surged. IPOs, however, will be quiet on Friday. Broadband display chipmaker, Pixelworks (Nasdaq: PXLW), priced below its $12 to $14 price range at $10.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is about to open lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 9.5 to 1432.50 at 7:36 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

Asia

Trading in Asia was rocky. The Nikkei 225 fell 1 percent to 16,858.17, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 1 percent to 1,992 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent to 14,478.

Europe

European markets fell as technology issues slipped. London's FTSE 100 was off more than 2 percent to 6,088. The CAC 40 in Paris nearly 3 percent to 6,265 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 2 percent to 7,026 at 7:30 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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