Stock Market Ups and Downs

If you were watching the headlines–or the markets–this week, you probably felt a little seasick, or perhaps just a little sick to your stomach.

Sun Microsystems warned that its revenue and earnings would again come in lower than expected. Alas, the economic weakness appears to have spread to Europe and Asia, according to the company. Alcatel and Lucent called off the marriage; then Alcatel slashed about 900 jobs. Palm warned of more layoffs. The Dow closed below 11,000 once again, and tech stocks got hammered.

Top that all off with a weak jobs report, growing speculation of a rate cut by the Fed in late June, and surging markets on Friday. Can it just end?

Here’s a look at what’s on tap next week.

Meet and greet

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and other executives will chat it up with analysts Tuesday. Bezos acknowledged at a recent shareholder meeting that the company’s goal of reaching operating profitability in the fourth quarter won’t be easy. Indeed, money talk will top Tuesday’s agenda.

Analysts still examining Amazon’s books are looking for more details at the meeting about the company’s financial health. Company executives have come under criticism in recent months for Amazon’s difficult-to-interpret financial statements. The New York Society of Security Analysts has made something of a class example of Amazon, holding forums on the company in part to persuade it to make its financial statements clearer.

However, in an apparent nod to Wall Street critics, the company offered more information about its pro forma results on its last earnings report. Bezos also indicated in May at the shareholder meeting that Amazon would consider expanding the number of members who serve on its board. Critics have contended that the long-time board members have made the board too insular, and that Amazon needs some new blood.

Hewlett-Packard also schmoozes analysts Wednesday, June 6. The company reported earnings in May of $356 million, or 18 cents a share, beating Wall Street consensus estimates that had been dramatically reduced. Although it’s early in the quarter, analysts will want to know if HP remains on track with its guidance. The company predicted its third-quarter revenue would be flat or down by as much as 5 percent. Analysts will also likely grill HP on its progress with improving its enterprise business, and about possible looming price wars.

Informix holds a special shareholders meeting Friday, June 8 to consider the sale of the company’s database business to IBM. IBM has agreed to pay $1 billion for the business, which was once the core of Informix. But Informix’s database sales have suffered from stiff competition in recent years from both Oracle and IBM. Along with the sale of the database business, Informix shareholders will consider changing the company’s name to Ascential Software. The sale of the business and the name change would in some ways mark the end of a tumultuous few years for Informix, which has seen its share of accounting troubles, slow sales, and executive departures.

Conferences circuit

Software maker Broadvision holds its user conference June 3-6 in Las Vegas. CEO Pehong Chen kicks it off with a keynote Monday. Watch for some announcements from the show.

A string of big-name speakers addresses the crowd at Supercomm 2001 June 3-7 in Atlanta. Edward Whitacre Jr.,CEO of SBC Communications, speaks Tuesday, as does Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Alcatel COO Krish Prabhu speaks Wednesday.