Wall Street Beat: Tech Shares Need to Rally Friday

Wall Street will need to rally on Friday to avoid consecutive weekly losses on its three major indices, including the technology laden Nasdaq Composite Index.

The Nasdaq ended at 1752.55 on Thursday and faces its second consecutive down week should the index fail to beat its 1796.52 close last week. The index will have to gain 43.96 points, or 2.5 percent, to avoid a losing streak.

The danger for the index is it that despite strong performance by technology shares relative to almost all other stocks this year, the Nasdaq could find itself in a slide similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which face their fourth losing streak in a row if they fail to make substantial gains on Friday in the U.S.

The Dow needs to rise over 97.57 points, or 1.2 percent, on Friday to avoid its fourth consecutive weekly decline. The index finished last week at 8280.74, down amid fears second quarter earnings conferences may not provide enough positive news to sustain stock market gains that began in early March. Some analysts also say those gains went too far, too fast and the market was due for a pullback.

The S&P 500 will need to rise more than 13.74 points on Friday, or 1.6 percent, to avoid a fourth consecutive losing week. Last week the index finished at 896.42, higher than its 882.68 finish on Thursday.

Samsung Electronics, one of the world's largest technology companies, provided a bit of good news for the industry this week.

The company raised its second quarter revenue guidance to between 31 trillion Korean won (US$24.3 billion) and 33 trillion won and operating profit as high as 2.6 trillion won (US$2.0 billion), both figures better than the second quarter of last year. This is no small feat considering most companies are comparing their figures against woeful previous quarters, not last year.

Shares of the world's largest memory chip and LCD panel maker, and second biggest mobile phone vendor, had gained 8.15 percent on the Korean Stock Exchange this week through Thursday after the announcement. Shares were trading down slightly on Friday.

Internet search leader Google provided a spark this week with its announcement of a new operating system, the Chrome OS, to compete with Microsoft in netbooks, laptops and desktop computers.

The company's shares have risen 3.5 percent, or US$13.76, on the Nasdaq since the announcement to end Thursday at US$410.39. Microsoft shares have fallen slightly.

But there has been some bad news for the global technology industry as well.

Market researcher iSuppli lowered its forecast for global semiconductor and electronic equipment revenue in 2009 to US$1.38 trillion, down 9.8 percent compared to US$1.53 trillion last year. The last revision iSuppli made was in April, when it forecast a 7.6 percent decline.

The company blamed a global decline in auto sales for the drop, particularly in North America. Growth forecasts in the other five categories iSuppli tracks, data processing, wired and wireless communications, consumer and industrial were all revised lower as well, but none so much as automobiles.

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