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Last night's warning from



is not going to do any favors for the tech sector as the

Nasdaq Composite Index

continues to flirt with key support levels. Still, in a season where bellwethers such as






have already weighed in on the warnings front, jaws can only drop so many times.

Dell said its third-quarter sales were coming in about 3% below what it expected, due to weak demand in Europe. The PC maker said it remains on track to meet the 24-analyst estimate of 25 cents in the quarter but warned fourth-quarter per-share earnings could be 1 cent to 2 cents below company targets. It was trading at $26.38 on


, down from its close in composite trading at $28.19. Apple was also under pressure, lately trading at $23.13 on Instinet, down from its composite close at $25.63.

For a quick take on companies that have warned so far, see's

tracking table. Also, see additional coverage from


on Dell's

latest news.


S&P 500 futures on


lately were up 3.8 to 1454, about 4.28 points above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were down 12.5 to 3465, about 33.3 points below fair value and indicating some rough going for tech at the open.

On a more chipper note,

Micron Technology


delivered a solid earnings report last night, saying fourth-quarter earnings were $1.16, easily beating the consensus estimate of 96 cents. It was lately trading at $48, up from $46.94.

Other chipmakers were mixed. Intel was down a notch at $41.75 from $42, on active preopen volume while

Advanced Micro Devices


was at $24.75 from $24.50.

In an encouraging sign for those long tech, bellwethers






are behaving well. Oracle was at $69, up from yesterday's close at $68.13. Cisco was lately at $58.88 from $58.56 yesterday.



was up a bit at $33 from yesterday's close of $32.50. The company said it expects to report quarterly revenue ranging from $1.65 billion to $1.7 billion. Hughes also said its DirecTV unit added 450,000 net customers to its high-power satellite TV service in the third quarter, bringing the total number of subscribers to 9 million.

Europe's major indices were higher, with France's


up 1.05%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

up 1.28% and the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

up 0.5% (see today's

European Midday Update for more). Japan's

Nikkei 225

lost 0.3% overnight, while Hong Kong's still-rallying

Hang Seng

rising 1.93% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

For Wednesday's postclose trading, see The Night Watch.