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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Will IBM spoil the day?

    Big Blue's Y2K gloom and doom will have at least the Dow seeing Red Thursday, but other positive tech earnings could minimize the damage. Asia and Europe were mixed, and the Dow is set to open lower.

    U.S.

    Just when things were looking up after Wednesday's Microsoft-led rally, IBM went and Y2K'd techs. International Business Machines Corp (NYSE: IBM) was trading at about 99 1/4 in Europe, or down about 13 1/2 points, after it reported its quarterly results after Wednesday's bell. Dell, Yahoo, Amazon, and other tech notables were following the lead of the Dow Jones heavyweight stock, down in pre-market trading.

    Though the computer kingpin reported in line third-quarter profits, results were overshadowed by a warning that fourth-quarter and fiscal 2000 first-quarter results will be well below analysts' estimates because of Y2K concerns. Other earnings, however, were strong.

    Meanwhile, a whole new slew of earnings are on deck Thursday, with Autoweb.com (Nasdaq: AWEB), CNET (Nasdaq: CNET) and Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT) among those scheduled to report. In other upward looking news, America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) beat estimates and announced a strategic alliance with PC maker Gateway (NYSE: GTW), which also reported better-than-expected earnings Wednesday.

    IPOs edging into the testy markets include Aether Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AETH). The provider of data services to wireless handheld electronic devices, priced 6 million shares at $16 each.

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Marimba Inc. (Nasdaq: MRBA) and Vignette Corp. (Nasdaq: VIGN).

    Strong earnings from Microsoft helped buoy spirits in the technology sector Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite roared up 100 points to 2,788.12, the composite's third-largest, single-day gain. The Dow shot up 187 points to close at 10,392.36.

    At the Bell

    The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 59 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 7.3 points to 1285 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

    The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 13 to 338.03.

    Asia

    Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.49 percent to 17,448, Singapore's Strait Times index shed 0.39 percent to 2,017 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.20 percent to 12,523.

    Europe

    European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.62 percent to 5,969. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.62 percent to 4,606 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.50 percent to 5,265 at 6:54 a.m. EST.

    Reuters contributed to this report.