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Tech Industry

Dow, Nasdaq set to open higher

Better-than-expected earnings from Oracle and positive news from Qwest Communications have the Dow and Nasdaq poised for gains.

The Nasdaq will aim for 2,000 Tuesday, and its success will depend on how investors read into Oracle's earnings report. The Dow is set to open higher.

Oracle's fourth-quarter report Monday gave a mixed bag of financials for investors to mull over. The software giant reported earnings that topped estimates by a penny, but its sales came in short of projections. Analysts, however, were upbeat about Oracle on Tuesday morning.

The reaction to Oracle's results could be critical for the Nasdaq, which, for the first time since April, stands below 2,000--at 1,988.63.

Tuesday's economic news itsn't likely to sway investor sentiment, though it will provide more input for the Federal Reserve's next decision on interest rates. Housing starts for May are due shortly after trading begins. Economists expect the annual rate to have declined slightly for May.

Stocks to watch
• Oracle reported earnings of 15 cents a share in the fourth quarter ended May 31, beating the 14 cent average estimate of analysts polled by First Call. The software maker also said revenue fell 3 percent to $3.27 billion in the quarter. Analysts had expected Oracle to bring in $3.4 billion in revenue. The company was relatively upbeat on a conference call with analysts. Shares were $1.41, or 10 percent, to $16.25 in premarket trading on the Island ECN.

• Metromedia Fiber Network could fall after its profit warning. The maker of communications networks reduced its 2001 revenue targets to between $400 million and $420 million, compared with a previous forecast of about $478 million.

• Solectron may also be active after its third-quarter report and some job cuts. The contract electronics manufacturer reported a net loss for its fiscal third quarter and said weak demand across the board had caused sales to miss its forecast. Operating earnings were 12 cents per share, just below First Call's forecast of 13 cents. Solectron also said it will eliminate 12,600 more jobs by the end of this quarter as customer orders slow.

• Qwest Communications International said Tuesday morning that it continues to see strong demand for services, and that it is comfortable with its previously announced outlook. First Call is expecting 13 cents a share in earnings in its upcoming second quarter. Qwest expects that revenue will increase 12 percent to 13 percent in the second quarter. Revenue for 2001 will be $21.3 billion to $21.7 billion, and EBITDA (earnings before revenue, interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the year will be approximately $8.5 billion to $8.7 billion.

At the bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 62 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 7.2 points to 1,227 at 7:20 a.m. EDT in 24-hour electronic trading.

Reuters contributed to this report.