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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Techs await economic data

Techs aren't likely to linger over economic data on the Friday before a long weekend, though the August jobs report has had the inflation-sensitive stocks on edge all week. Asia was down, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

The August jobs report is the latest piece of the economic puzzle investors will scrutinize for the big picture on inflation and interest rates. The unemployment rate is expected to show a slight drop to 4.2 percent from the previous month's 4.3 percent, signaling the already-tight labor market is getting tighter. Hourly earnings are expected to rise 0.4 percent, compared with 0.5 percent in July.

In other news, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has announced its counterattack to Sun Microsystems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SUNW) hit at Microsoft Office. Tuesday, Sun announced plans to offer a rival product for free on the Internet. Microsoft says it too will offer its office software as an Internet service, though pricing was not addressed.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), National Discount Brokers Group Inc. (NYSE: NDB) and 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS).

Another batch of economic reports spooked investors Thursday as the Dow Jones industrial average shaved off 95 points to 10,843.21 while the Nasdaq clipped 17 points to finish at 2,734.24.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 18 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 2.2 points to 1322 at 7:35 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sank 0.11 to 296.62.

Asia

Trading in Asia was on a downswing. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.01 percent to 17,630, Singapore's Strait Times index lost 1.18 percent to 2,093 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.42 percent to 13,178.

Europe

European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.46 percent to 6,224. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.65 percent to 4,579 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.71 percent to 5,227 at 6:50 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.