As trading wanes into the holiday weekend Friday, investors will weigh the final proposal for Microsoft's monopoly remedy. Asian and European markets were down, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.
After 2 years, a decision in Microsoft's antitrust trial could finally be imminent. Reports have it that the government will stick with its two-way split, forgoing the three-way partition proposed by some and mentioned by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson Wednesday. Microsoft's response is due at the close of business Wednesday.
Microsoft lost about 6.2 percent, in regular-hours trading Thursday, and then rebounded to 62 1/2 after reports the government wouldn't seek a three-way split began circulating.
In other regulatory news, Justice Department conditionally approved AT&T's (NYSE: T) purchase of MediaOne (NYSE: UMG). AT&T must sell MediaOne's 25 percent stake in high-speed Internet provider Road Runner no later than Dec. 31, 2001, due to AT&T's ownership stake in Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM)
Trading may be lighter than usual, as traders take off for the long Memorial Day weekend. The bond market will close early, at 2 p.m. EST.
On the economic front, a report on what consumers are earning and spending, along with the orders for big ticket items will give Fed-watchers something to mull over.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Alloy Online, AT&T, Corel, Ditech and Lightning Rod Software.
An early rally in technology stocks capitulated Thursday, pushing the Nasdaq composite down 65 points to 3,205.36. The Dow Jones industrial average, which spent most of the day in the red, closed off 211 points to 10,323.92.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 33 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 4.5 to 1393 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 14 to 400.45.
Trading in Asia was on a downswing. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.48 to 16,008, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 1.60 percent to 1,820 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.42 percent to 13,722.
European markets were also headed down. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.54 percent to 6,214. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.54 percent to 6,096 and the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.97 percent to 6,910 at 7:05 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.