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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs await Fed&#039s word

Techs should continue to tiptoe on pins and needles while it awaits the word from the Federal Reserve's interest rate move, scheduled for 2:15 EDT Wednesday afternoon. Asia slumped while Europe rose, and the Dow is set to open flat.

U.S.

The day of reckoning has arrived. Tuesday's climb has shown the market is no longer afraid of the expected quarter percentage point raise. If the enigmatic Alan Greenspan doesn't drop any runic phrases today which suggest another rate hike, stocks could move mountains. If he does hint at a bias towards raising rates, the cycle of anticipation is set to begin all over again.

Consumer confidence levels were announced Tuesday to have risen to 138.4, the highest level in three decades. The Fed connection? Increasing consumer confidence could mean a series of pre-emptive strikes to rein in euphoric spenders and fend off inflation. Sales of newly built single-family homes were also announced; they cooled off by 5.1 percent in May.

In other economic news, May leading indicators are scheduled to be released at 10 AM EDT. A 0.3 percent rise is expected, compared with a 0.1 percent decline in April.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: CellStar Corp. (Nasdaq: CLST), GT Interactive Software Corp. (Nasdaq: GTIS), Modem Media Poppe Tyson Inc. (Nasdaq: MMPT), National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM), Secure Computing Corp. (Nasdaq: SCUR) and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB).

Investors stepped on the accelerator for the second day in row Tuesday, pushing the Nasdaq composite up 40 points to 2,642.06 while the Dow Jones industrial average rallied up 160 points to finish at 10,815.35.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 6.61 to 303.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open unchanged. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was holding steady at 1356 at 7:35 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

Asia

Trading in Asia stumbled while awaiting the interest rate news. The Nikkei 225 slumped 1.42 percent to 17,529. Singapore's Strait Times index lost 0.61 percent to 2,167 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.70 percent to 13532.

Europe

European markets edged up. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.35 percent to 6,329. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.28 percent to 4,516 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.34 percent to 5,377 at 6:50 a.m. EST.

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