NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The technology sector has recaptured Wall Street's attention – at least for now – as investors Wednesday weigh company forecasts for the rest of the year and reports of further job cuts.|
Early signs pointed to a modest advance at the start of trading. The Nasdaq-100 futures pushed ahead, indicating a positive open for the Nasdaq market. Standard & Poor's futures were little changed, hinting at a flat start for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average.
Lucent Technologies (LU: Research, Estimates), among the companies whose forecast that it would meet forecasts helped power Tuesday's rally, was in the headlines again. The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the plan, reported Wednesday that the telecom equipment maker plans to offer early retirement to up to 15,000 U.S. managers. That would be in addition to the 10,000 job cuts announced by the troubled company earlier this year.
Lucent shares rose 49 cents to $8.49 Tuesday.
Investors will be waiting to hear what Intel (INTC: Research, Estimates) has to say about its outlook. The No. 1 chipmaker is set to give a mid-quarter financial update Thursday, and analysts are waiting for guidance about whether chip sales are on target for the quarter ending June 30. Intel shares closed Tuesday at $29.73, up $1.23.
After four straight days of gains and a 1 percent advance Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average stands at 11,175.84. The Nasdaq composite index is at 2,233.66 following a 3.6 percent run-up, while the S&P 500 starts at 1,283.57 after gaining 16 points.
Asian markets closed mostly higher Wednesday, although Tokyo's Nikkei index ended little changed. European markets were mixed as trading began.
Treasury prices fell early Wednesday, pushing yields higher. The 10-year note yield rose to 5.29 percent from 5.26 percent late Tuesday, while the 30-year bond yield increased to 5.68 percent from 5.65 percent.
The dollar gained a little ground against both the yen and euro. A day after OPEC decided to leave production quotas alone, in the face of Iraq's decision to cut off most oil exports, Brent oil futures fell 44 cents to $28 a barrel in London.
General Electric (GE: Research, Estimates) appears to be pulling out the stops toward getting European approval for its merger with Honeywell International (HON: Research, Estimates). The Wall Street Journal, quoting a person familiar with the negotiations, reported late Tuesday that GE is prepared to sell Honeywell's regional jet engine unit to satisfy European Commission objections to the $40 billion deal that would combine two Dow components. GE shares fell 27 cents to $49.18 Tuesday, while Honeywell was 10 cents higher at $48.84.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY: Research, Estimates) is reported to be closing in on a $7.5 billion-to-$8 billion acquisition of DuPont's drug business. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported Wednesday that DuPont (DD: Research, Estimates) has agreed to enter exclusive negotiations with Bristol-Myers in a bid to reach agreement in the next few days. Bristol-Myers rose 91 cents Tuesday to $57.91, while Dow component DuPont added 17 cents to $46.70.
Two conglomerates controlled by Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing said Tuesday they would buy 25 million more shares of Priceline.com (PCLN: Research, Estimates) from company founder Jay Walker, boosting their joint stake in the Internet travel and commerce site to 30 percent. Priceline shares rose 83 cents to $6.28 in after-hours trading Tuesday after gaining 14 cents during regular hours.