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MARKET PREVIEW: IPOs take charge

A few IPOs and favorable earnings reports should see techs rallying into the weekend. Asia was up, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

Now that the markets have put the last big economic hurdle of 1999 well behind them, with interest rates adjusted for what is generally assumed to be the last time this year, it's back to the basics for techs. Upside surprises from NetSilicon Inc. (Nasdaq: NSIL) and Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF) and news MCI Worldcom's (Nasdaq: WCOM) stock split should stir things up Friday.

As Vodafone AirTouch, the world's biggest mobile phone company, and German telecom Mannesmann duke it out on the other side of the Atlantic, things are considerably less exciting in U.S. markets Friday. Vodafone offered a knock-out $127.7 billion offer Friday, the largest in takeover history.

A few promising IPOs should grab headlines. CacheFlow (Proposed ticker: CFLO), which makes appliances to speed up content delivery, priced its 5 million share public offering at $24 per share, well above its raised range of $18-$20. Lifeminders.com (Proposed ticker: LFMN) priced 4.2 million shares at $14 each. i-CABLE Communications, a spin-off of the only cable-TV operator in Hong Kong, priced its offering of 18 million shares at $27, the top of its $22-27 range.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Alloy Online, Legato Systems, MCI WorldCom, Newbridge Networks and NetSilicon.

Internet stocks led another huge rally in the technology sector Thursday as the Nasdaq composite stormed up 77 points to a record close of 3,346.74. The Dow Jones industrial average hustled up 153 points to close at 11,035.70.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 15 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 1.9 points to 1430 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 13 to 441.94.

Asia

Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.21 percent to 18,570, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 0.79 percent to 2,221 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 2.39 percent to 15,073.

Europe

European markets were mixed. London's FTSE 100 sank 0.11 percent to 6,544. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.37 percent to 5,227 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.40 percent to 5,974 at 7:04 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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