Still-Smarting Techs Return to Market's Forefront

Some market-moving events for technology arrive in the next few days.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Treasuries were the first thing people looked at today, but with bonds relatively stable, the focus shifted to any number of market-moving events in the tech world.

There are still a couple of crucial earnings reports coming up in the sector this week.

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

reports its second-quarter earnings after the close today, while both

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

and

Lycos

(LCOS)

report their quarterly results on Tuesday. Also,

America Online

(AOL)

will hold a meeting with analysts on Wednesday.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

analyst Jamie Kiggen put out a note on AOL this morning, saying not only to buy the online titan in advance of its meeting, but to "buy AOL today." Kiggen said that recent weakness in Internet stocks matches the pattern of a year ago, but like last year, the group should move up quickly as expectations for better-than-expected second-quarter results start building. He said that "tremendous seasonal strength" in the second half of the year should ignite the sector. Kiggen has a price target of 200 on AOL, which he said "could be achievable" by the end of the year.

In early trading, AOL was up 3 7/16, or 3%, at 128 11/16.

Ahead of Dell's earnings on Tuesday,

Merrill Lynch

analyst Steve Milunovich said modest upside to the 16-cent earnings estimate was possible. In a research note released this morning, Milunovich said: "Although we continue to prefer enterprise stocks over PC stocks, the purity of Dell's model is attractive relative to a hybrid model." The analyst maintained his intermediate-term accumulate rating on the stock ("rather than a buy, due to high valuation and slowing growth") and reiterated his concerns about industry pricing over the next 12 to 24 months.

In early trading, Dell was up 1, or 2.4%, at 42 3/16. Hewlett-Packard was up 15/16, or 1%, at 85 1/8.

TheStreet.com

previews earnings reports for both companies in a

story published this morning.

Semiconductor equipment makers were reeling after a number of stocks got downgraded by

Salomon Smith Barney

this morning. Analyst Milind Bedekar lowered ratings on

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

,

KLA Tencor

(KLAC) - Get Report

,

Lam Research

(LRCX) - Get Report

and

Novellus Research

(NVLS)

to outperform from buy.

"While we are by no means turning bearish on the sector, we see the clear possibility of

orders flattening and a reasonable probability of modest order declines toward the end of the year and early next year," Bedekar wrote. "With valuations only 10% to 20% from the 1997 cycle peaks (on a relative basis), we believe that there is little room to go on the upside in the near term, and the 'order perturbations' could cause downward pressure."

In early trading, Applied Materials slipped 1/16 to 60 5/8; KLA Tencor was down 11/32, or 2%, at 50 15/32; Lam Research was off 1 3/16, or 4%, at 29 5/8; and Novellus fell 23/32, or 1%, to 53 5/16.

Finally,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

was trading lower this morning after the company said it would offer a 50% discount on every book on

The New York Times

bestseller list. The discount applies to hardcover and paperback titles in fiction, nonfiction and advice/how-to/miscellaneous, or at least 68 titles. Shares of Amazon were down 2 3/8, or 2%, at 130.