Oracle has dashed any hopes of a rally for technology stocks Friday. Asian markets were sharply lower, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open flat to slightly lower.
Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) was one of the last big companies that had yet to complain about the softening economy. The database software maker shattered all hopes of immunity Thursday night as it warned that third-quarter earnings will come in below expectations. Shares were off 20 percent in pre-market trading on the Island ECN, and the bad news took its toll on Asian markets overnight.
The markets will get one last chance to speculate on the interest rate situation Friday when Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan speaks before a Congressional panel at 10 a.m. ET. His topic, "Current Fiscal Issues," will likely focus more on the tax cut proposal than monetary policy.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Applied Micro Circuits, Oracle and SBC Communications.
IBM led a surprisingly robust tech rally in late trading Thursday, helping the Nasdaq composite erase an 80-point deficit to close up 31 points to 2,183.31. The Dow Jones industrial average wasn't as fortunate, falling 45 points to finish at 10,450.14.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 63 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 7.5 points to 1236 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 3 to 217.81.
Trading in Asia was on a downswing. The Nikkei 225 shed 419.86 to 1,2261.80, Singapore's Strait Times index lost 4.53 to 1,907.24 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 394.13 to 1,3966.43.
European markets were mixed. London's FTSE 100 fell 5.20 to 5,903.40, the CAC 40 in Paris rose 12.98 to 5,354.32 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 26.33 to 6,149.71 at 7:20 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.