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MARKET PREVIEW: PPI data crosses techs&#039 path

Barring exceptionally good luck on this Friday the 13th, techs are likely to continue their downswing; the dreaded producer price report, due out before the bell, may or may not set off inflation alarms. Asia was mixed, Europe was down, and the Dow is set to open flat.

U.S.

Superstitions around threes may cause more volatility than necessary considering another raise in rates is already expected when the Federal Reserve convenes this August 24. Skittish bonds are already eyeing the next Fed gathering for a third raise in rates, and results of the PPI report will surely cause a ruckus among jittery techs. Ever-nervous net issues may even take back Thursday's gains.

Active Software (Nasdaq: ASWX) will offer 3.5 million shares at $11 each despite the recent doom and gloom for IPOs. The business software was maker is expected to debut Friday, after cutting the size of its initial public offering down from 4 million. LookSmart (Proposed ticker: LOOK) has postponed its pricing to Monday.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Datatec Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: DATC), Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq:INTU), Scientific-Atlanta Inc. (NYSE: SFA) and Systems Software Associates Inc. (Nasdaq: SSAX).

Internet stocks made modest gains in choppy trading Thursday but the Nasdaq composite closed off 15 points to 2,549.50. The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 2 points to 10,789.39.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 9 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 1.0 points to 1304 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 1.1 to 263.80.

Asia

Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.7 percent to 17,491, Singapore's Strait Times index lost 2.14 percent to 1,969 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.34 percent to 12,608.

Europe

European markets were down as they awaited the PPI data. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.27 percent to 6,136. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.35 percent to 4,350 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.05 percent to 5,125 at 6:50 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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