Expect turbulence on the semiconductor front, and mixed reactions to Intel and Motorola's results Wednesday, as the earnings continue to roll in. Asia and Europe were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.
Though Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq: INTC) second-quarter profits were depressed by pricing pressure, investors may respond to a better than expected gross margin and news that Intel expects a strong second half. Rival Advanced Micro Devices (Nasdaq: AMD), which has not fared as well amid the pricing competition, is expected to report today.
Motorola may have the opposite problem; after reporting better than expected earnings, the company announced a possible charge in the third quarter caused by the restructuring of Iridium, the Motorola-backed satellite company that isn't faring well in the market.
On the economic front, watch for the i-word, inflation, may make a comeback today, as June reports on producer prices and retail sales are to be announced. The reports are watched closely by Federal Reserve policymakers for symptoms of inflation.
The Labor Department's producer price index for finished goods is expected to rise a slight 0.1 percent, down from 0.2 percent growth in May. Overall retail sales, reported by the Commerce Department, will have risen 0.3 percent in June, down from 1.0 percent in May.
In other tech-related news, Broward County, Florida was yet another local government to require cable-television companies to open their lines to rival internet service providers, complicating AT&T's Corp's plans, according to Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Digital Link Corp. (DLNK), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), iVillage Inc (Nasdaq: IVIL), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), PairGain Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: PAIR) , and Terayon Communication Systems Inc. (TERN)
A little turmoil in South America gave investors a good enough excuse to take some profits Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average fell 26 points to 11,175.02 while the Nasdaq shed 12 points to close at 2,778.20.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open about 11 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 1.4 points to 1405 at 7:35 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sunk 0.44 to 319.
Trading in Asia was up, with the exception of Hong Kong's Hang Seng, which fell 2.90 percent to 13,575 on tension between China and Taiwan. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.97 percent to 18,357. Singapore's Strait Times index edged up 0.01 percent to 2,178.
European markets were also mixed. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.89 percent to 6,503. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 1.45 percent to 4,594 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.09 percent to 5,634 at 6:57 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.