MARKET PREVIEW: Can techs sustain rally?

With indications the Dow will open lower, technology stocks may take a breather from their recent rally. Asian markets were up, Europe moved down, and the Dow is set to open sharply lower.

U.S.

In economic news, investors may take interest in this week's report on initial jobless claims. Last week's report came in above 400,000 for the first time in more than five years, leading to concern that the so-far unscathed U.S. employment rate may be taking some hits from the economy. Economists expect the number to fall to 390,000 from 408,000.

The market will also absorb a few quarterly reports from after last night's bell. Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) may feel some pressure after it missed analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Wednesday, earning $8.4 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $89.1 million. Compuware (Nasdaq: CPWR), a systems management software developer, will also be active Thursday after meeting analysts' profit estimates in its fourth quarter, although total sales fell shy of estimates.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Cirrus Logic, Compuware and Macromedia.

Technology stocks posted strong gains Wednesday on an analyst's Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) report that said information technology spending could be stabilizing after months of declines. The Nasdaq composite gained 52 points to finish at 2,220.53.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open 65 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was off 7.5 points to 1263 at 7:50 a.m. EDT in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 11 to 219.96.

Asia

Trading in Asia brought indexes lower. The Nikkei 225 shed 3.82 to 14,421.6, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 96.10 to 13,718.14 and Singapore's Strait Times index lost 3.43 to 1,734.23.

Europe

European markets were down. London's FTSE 100 fell 88.90 to 5,815.30, the CAC 40 in Paris fell 55.73 to 5,517.18 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was off 76.04 to 6,137.80.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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