The Week Ahead: Can techs keep going?

Some flashy IPOs and a better than expected employment report will put technology stocks into orbit again this week
Written by Larry Barrett, Contributor on

With only a handful of earnings and financial reports due out this week, look out for some sideways trading. Last week the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 505 points to 10,367.20 while the Nasdaq composite shot up 323 points to a record high of 4,914.30. Most of those gains came on Friday after the February jobs report detailed a weakening labour market, with below expectation job creation and a rise in the unemployment rate that gave investors a reason to buy stocks.

The US Labor Department reported that non-farm employment rose by a smaller than expected 43,000 in February, while the jobless rate increased to 4.1 percent from 4.0 the previous month. "It's the first sign that the economy is slowing to a much more sustainable pace," said High Johnson, the chief investment officer of First Albany

Perhaps the week's biggest story was Palm's initial public offering (IPO). After pricing at $38 (£23) a share on Thursday, the stock soared up to a high of $165 (£102) before closing at 95 1/16. Its shares fell another 14 13/16 to 80 1/4 on Friday.

Looking ahead to this week, traders will be watching from earnings reports from several Internet companies. 24/7 Media, the Internet advertising company, will report its fourth-quarter results next week. A First Call consensus expects it to lose 72 cents (44p) a share in the fourth quarter. Last quarter, 24/7 Media beat Street estimates, posting a loss of $11.7m (£7.25m), or 55 cents (34p) a share, on sales of $24.3m (£15m).

Fatbrain.com will also release its fourth-quarter results, with analysts looking for a loss of 82 cents (50p) a share. Last quarter, Fatbrain.com lost $9.1m (£5.6m) on sales of $8.2m (£5m). Its shares closed off 11/16 to 17 3/4 on Friday.

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