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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

THE DAY AHEAD: Market Preview

Watch for modest gains on Friday as Wall Street heads out the door early for the long weekend and day traders go bargain hunting. Asia was mixed and Europe dipped. The Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

The markets look to end the week crawling higher. Volume should be light and drop sharply around 1 p.m. EST as traders light out to enjoy the long weekend. Stocks across the board should edge lower at this time as investors clear their slates.

What happened this week? A few things: revised economic data put a scare in Wall Street that the Federal Reserve could raise rates in the near future. Second, Mary Meeker, a well-respected analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said in a note that Internet stocks could lose another 20 percent in the near-term. Also, you had a flood of wannabe's and also ran Internet IPOs that flopped. On top of all this, the upcoming long weekend has been known as a catalyst for profit taking.

Looking at all this, the fundamental strengths that brought the surge to the stock market are still in place. The economy is strong, consumer confidence is intact and the sentiment on Wall Street remains predominantly bullish on stocks. A caveat to this is that the flow of money into mutual funds has slowed slightly.

Corrections happen, corrections are healthy. Even the Yankees lose sometimes.

Scan those Net stocks you've been eyeing for the past few months on Tuesday, there may be a bargain or two worth looking into.

Stocks to watch for Friday: Autodesk, Computer Associates, LightBridge Picturetel, QAD and World Access.

On Thursday, Internet stocks resumed their slide as the Nasdaq composite fell 8 points to 2,419.19 after a one-day reprieve from the recent sell-off. The Dow plunged 235 points to close at 10,466.93.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index dropped 6 to 287.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open slightly higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts rose 4.5 points to 1,290.5 at 7:53 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading, are indicating a 36-point rise in the global bellwether.

Asia

Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo dropped 1.26 percent to , the Seoul composite in South Korea gained 0.77 percent to 732, Singapore's Strait Times index sank 0.63 percent to 1,903 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 2.03 percent to 12,059.

Europe

European markets lost ground. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.31 percent to 6,180, the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.53 percent to 4,303 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt dipped 0.35 percent to 5,046 at 8:10 a.m. EST.