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The week ahead: HP shareholders sound off

The fracas over Hewlett-Packard's merger with Compaq Computer could come to an end this week. HP shareholders will vote on the merger Tuesday, followed by Compaq shareholders Wednesday.

Following are some of the notable tech-related events scheduled for the week of March 18 through March 22.

The fracas over Hewlett-Packard's merger with Compaq Computer could come to an end this week.

HP shareholders will vote on the merger Tuesday, followed by Compaq shareholders on Wednesday. The battle pits HP CEO Carly Fiorina against HP board member Walter Hewlett, the son of company co-founder William Hewlett. Both sides have used speeches, advertisements and press releases to fight for the direction and soul of one of the world's largest computer makers.

Wall Street will also focus on the Federal Open Market Committee, chaired by Alan Greenspan, which meets Tuesday to decide on interest-rate policy. The Fed decided to hold off on changing interest rates in its previous January meeting after making a series of rate cuts over the past few months aimed at reviving the sagging U.S. economy.

In addition to shareholder battles and economic policy decisions, technology watchers will have the opportunity to attend some conferences this week. CTIA Wireless kicks off in Orlando, Fla., and will cover all things wireless; while the Optical Fiber Communication conference in Anaheim, Calif., gives attendees the chance to talk about trends and products in the telecommunications industry.

Government economic data will spread the attention span of investors even thinner. The Labor Department releases the Consumer Price Index on Thursday, a report that economists use to track inflation at the consumer level.

The information was gathered from First Call, Hoover's Online, CCBN's StreetEvents and CNET Investor.

Other events scheduled this week:

Tech Events
Sunday, March 17
  • The Optical Fiber Communication conference takes place in the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, Calif., March 17 to March 22. The event features workshops, tutorials and speeches about technology and trends in the telecommunications equipment industry.

  • The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an organization of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet, will hold a conference at the Minneapolis Hilton and Towers in Minneapolis, March 17 to March 22.

Monday, March 18
  • CTIA Wireless kicks off at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., March 18-22. The conference will cover a wide range of topics that involve the wireless industry, such as home networking, mobile e-commerce, security and spectrum management. Speakers include Intel Chairman Andy Grove, Lucent Technologies CEO Patricia Russo, NTT DoCoMo CEO Keiji Tachikawa and entertainment from comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

  • Research firm Jupiter Media Metrix will host an Internet media forum in New York, March 18 to March 19. The gathering will focus on topics such as how to make money with Internet content and features keynote speeches by Washington Post CEO Donald Graham and New York Times Digital CEO Martin Nisenholtz.

  • InfoSec World takes place in Orlando, Fla., March 18 to March 20. The conference will address issues related to information and computer security such as wireless security, hacking, encryption and intrusion detection.

  • Executives, analysts and investors will meet at SEMInvest 2002 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, March 18 to March 19, to discuss trends in the chip manufacturing equipment industry.

Tuesday, March 19
  • Hewlett-Packard shareholders will vote on the company's bitterly contested merger with Compaq Computer.

  • The Game Developers Conference will assemble at the San Jose Convention Center, in San Jose, Calif., March 19 to March 23. This annual gathering attracts people who create and sell video and computer games that want to share technical tricks and take the pulse of the industry. Hot topics this year include online gaming and games for mobile phones and other wireless devices.

  • FOSE gathers at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, in Washington, D.C., March 19 to March 21. The trade show will provide an opportunity for information technology decision makers from government institutions to look at technology aimed at serving their needs. Keynote speakers include Raytheon CEO Dan Burnham, Adobe Systems CEO Bruce Chizen and Lockheed Martin CEO Vance Coffman.

  • Venture capital industry research firm VentureOne will hold Summit 2002 at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, March 19 to March 20. The event will provide investors a chance to talk with executives from select privately funded technology companies.

Wednesday, March 20
  • Compaq Computer shareholders are scheduled to vote on the PC maker's merger with Hewlett-Packard, the day after HP shareholders vote.

  • VoiceXML Planet takes place at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, Calif., March 20 to March 22. XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a Web design language that can be used to handle a range of media such as text, video and voice.

Earnings

Monday, March 18

  • Alloy runs a content and e-commerce Web site aimed at teenagers and young adults. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: earnings of 21 cents.

Tuesday, March 19
  • Jabil Circuit is a contract manufacturer of electronic components. Per-share consensus estimate for the second fiscal quarter: earnings of 7 cents.

  • Red Hat provides software and services for Linux open-source software. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: earnings of 1 cent.

Thursday, March 21
  • 3Com makes networking equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: loss of 16 cents.

  • Palm manufactures and markets handheld computer devices. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: loss of 4 cents.

  • Tech Data is a distributor of technology products. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: earnings of 61 cents.

Economic Reports
Tuesday, March 19

  • The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-setting arm of the Federal Reserve, meets to discuss interest rates. The Fed last met in January and decided to leave interest rates unchanged after a series of cuts that pushed rates down to the lowest levels in about 40 years.

  • The Trade Balance, or the value of U.S. imports subtracted from exports, is expected to widen to a deficit of $26.9 billion in January from $25.3 billion in December as reported monthly by the Commerce Department.

Wednesday, March 20
  • The commencement of construction on new homes, known as Housing Starts, is expected to fall to 1.63 million for February, down from 1.68 million in January, as reported by the Department of Commerce. Economists use this statistic to gauge the health of consumer spending on large items in the economy.

  • The Commerce Department tracks the number of Building Permits granted each month. Permits allow developers to begin construction on a site, and are monitored as an indicator of future housing trends. Economists expect permits issued to fall to 1.65 million in February from 1.71 million in January.

  • The Treasury Budget is a monthly report of the surplus or deficit of the U.S. government from the Department of Treasury. The deficit is expected to increase in February to $61.0 billion from $48.2 billion in January.

Thursday, March 21
  • Initial Claims refers to the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits each week as reported by the Department of Labor. Claims will be reported for the week ending March 16.

  • The Consumer Price Index is expected to rise 0.2 percent in February from the previous month's rise of 0.2 percent. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to rise 0.2 percent, the same increase during January. This keenly watched Labor Department index measures price changes at the consumer level, a key way for economists to track inflation.

  • The index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) is expected to climb 0.3 percent for February as compiled by the Conference Board, a business group. In January, the LEI rose 0.6 percent. The index, designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle, is a combination of 10 indicators, including consumer expectations, money supply data, and the change in housing permits issued. A falling index generally indicates an oncoming recession, while a climbing index signals an expansion.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's monthly Business Outlook Survey is a survey of manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District that tracks the direction of change in overall business activity at their plants. Wall Street expects the index to rise to 17.8 for the month of March from February's 16.0.