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Tech Issues a Big Feature at Banc of America Investment Conference

Companies slated to speak include Microsoft, Broadcom, Nortel and Oracle.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pause that bear hug.

Those mutual fund managers who can interrupt their mercurial romance with the

Dow and the

Nasdaq will be congregating nervously here this week.

Banc of America Securities

offers a soft lap during its 30th annual investment conference for those pummeled by the fickle market.

B of A's fall gala isn't exclusively a tech tryst. Instead, it has equal parts of chips,


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California Pizza Kitchen


. Tech watchers beware, however. All the biggie boxmakers will be at the show --


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-- in the face of market jitters over weak PC sales volume.

Rick Whittington, the analyst who

downgraded both


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last week after

SCI Systems'

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earnings warning, will hold a workshop Wednesday afternoon. (His firm hasn't performed underwriting for Intel or AMD.) No doubt the B of A faithful will be packed in, steamy shoulder pad to steamy shoulder pad, each worried about his take on the chip and PC sectors. Lamentably, Intel and AMD aren't on the presentation schedule, though chip-sector heavies

Texas Instruments

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Applied Materials

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are making appearances.



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shows up on Monday, when it could discuss life after Paul Maritz, -- its departing vice president of the platforms strategy and developer group -- the newly launched

Windows ME

platform and its all-or-nothing Net strategy.

Lawsuit-absorbing Henry Nicholas,


CEO, is sure to pepper Tuesday's lunch with his spicy words.


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can detail its Internet infrastructure spinoff during its late Tuesday presentation.

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can stick its toe in the sand Wednesday and offer another stalling "aw shucks."

Just in case you need constant affection to maintain that puppy-like attention span, B of A has drawn out the heavy hitters all the way through Friday's conference close.



Optical Internet President Don Smith could address recent telecom-spending nausea at his Friday morning keynote.

Tempted yet?

Say you need a little more heart-pumping action than


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in a wet T-shirt on Monday morning? B of A has you covered. After hours, the bank flexes its muscles with a week-long party lineup that features muscle-shirt lovin'

Sheryl Crow, a fitting

Stevie Nicks and buffet one-two, nighttime sparking up with the

Doobie Brothers and finally the delightfully obnoxious comedian

David Spade.

As if the market atmosphere doesn't provide entertainment enough.