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Market Preview: Earnings could fuel techs

Earnings reports should shift tech stocks into high gear Tuesday. Asia was slightly up, while Europe edged down. The Dow is set to open lower.

U.S.

Unfettered from interest rate fears, Nasdaq approached its April 26 record close of 2652.05 Monday, putting it ahead of the Dow industrials for the first time in two months. Though bond investors hesitate on the possibility that the Federal Reserve could still embark on a series of raises, stock traders are banking on a single quarter-point hike on June 30th.

The future of broadband still hangs in the balance, as America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) announced it would invest 1.5 billion in Hughes Electronics Corp., a division of General Motors (NYSE: GM). U.S. West Corp. (NYSE: USW) reaffirmed Monday its plans to merge with Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GBLX), shrugging off Qwest Communications Inc.(Nasdaq: QWST) which was vying for Global Crossing and Frontier Corp. (NYSE: FRO).

After close Tuesday, 3Com Corp.(Nasdaq: COMS) and Verity Inc.(Nasdaq: VRTY) are expected to report earnings. First Call estimates predict 3Com at 23 cents a share, and Verity at 25 cents a share.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Cabletron Systems (NYSE: CS), Corel (Nasdaq: CORL) and Micron Electronics (Nasdaq: MUEI). All three surpassed earnings estimates.

Technology stocks took center stage Monday as leading Internet stocks helped push the Nasdaq Composite up 67 points to 2,630.28 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40 points to 10,815.98.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 12.69 to 309.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open about 38 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 4.80 points to 1355 at 7:30 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

Asia

Asian markets took a breather after Monday's highs. The Nikkei 225 jumped 0.22 percent to 17,777. Singapore's Strait Times index rose 0.13 percent to 2,123 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.08 percent to 14004.

Europe

European markets were all slightly in the red.

London's FTSE 100 was down 0.83 percent to 6526 the CAC 40 in Paris slumped 0.76 percent to 4,510 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt sunk 0.83 percent to 5423 at 6:34 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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