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Oil companies to report earnings

This week, a number of oil-related companies are expected to deliver earnings, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Sunoco. Numerous technology companies -- including Compaq, WorldCom, Amazon, Lucent and AT&T -- will also be reporting earnings. If these companies provide positive guidance to investors, it could be another week of gains on Wall Street.\nLast Week\nThe NASDAQ closed up Friday 64.36 to 3482.96 and ended the week on a positive note as investors regained confidence in technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also ended in positive territory, closing up 83.61 points to 10226.59. The Dow ended the week with a small gain and the NASDAQ finished up 5 percent, but both markets are still down over 10 percent on the year.\n"I'm very impressed by the follow-through on the NASDAQ," Erik Gustafson, a senior portfolio manager for Stein Roe & Farnham, told the Wall Street Journal. "That shows me, No. 1, that there is some interest in tech stocks … No. 2, I think this is a clear sign that some of the massive tax-related selling in the mutual-fund complex is coming to an end. But we're not out of the woods yet."\nStock News\nMicrosoft released earnings of 46 cents a share Oct. 18. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 41 cents a share, according to First Call/Thompson Financial. \n"In general, we feel good about the quarter. We came in with net revenue slightly higher than we expected, and net expenses were slightly lower, so our earnings per share got a bump in the quarter that was greater than what was probably expected," Chief Financial Officer John Connors said.\nIntel released earnings that exceeded analysts lowered expectations. According to Reuters, Intel warned on Sept. 24 that it would not meet sales expectations because of an overly aggressive forecast in Europe. Analysts also noted that Intel's main rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., has been gaining market share. \nCircuit City disappointed investors Oct. 20 as the company released it would post a third quarter loss. \n"Although we had anticipated modest sales disruption related to our exit from the appliance business and the partial remodel of all stores, sales have softened significantly in virtually all product categories, including those not affected by the remodeling process," Alan McCollough, president and chief executive of Circuit City Stores Inc., said in a statement. \nCoca-Cola announced earnings of43 cents a share, beating forecasts of 41 cents a share, according to First Call/Thompson. Coca-Cola released strong numbers for this quarter, but announced that if the euro does not improve, profits in 2001 will suffer.\nFinal Note\nLast week's technology rally could spill over to this week if earnings appear strong. Investors are also interested in the guidance companies provide for future growth. The market will continue to monitor tension in the Middle East and the upcoming presidential election.

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