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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Bargain hunting may boost techs

    Investors may take the nod from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Friday, and start seeing badly hammered techs as bargains. Asian markets were up, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

    U.S.

    The Saudi billionaire and prince, who has recently invested $1 billion in technology stocks, said Thursday he was taking a cautious approach to the sector, while snapping up shares of America Online (NYSE: AOL) and Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) and discount prices.

    The prince's vote of confidence in the sector should help techs continue their late-week recovery. Investors will also focus on employment data and IPOs Friday.

    March employment data is expected to show continued strong job growth; the report is predicted to show unemployment dropped to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent in February, and 375,000 new jobs were created in March, compared with 43,000 in February. If the data is stronger than expected, the markets could begin to anticipate higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

    On the IPO front, Saba Software (Nasdaq: SABA) was slated to price its shared between $12 and $14 each. IT professional marketplace operator, Opus360 (Nasdaq: OPUS), priced shares at $10, Customer chat software firm, LivePerson (Nasdaq: LPSN), priced its IPO below range at $8, Chip design software firm, Numerical Technologies (Nasdaq: NMTC), priced at $14, Wireless ISP GoAmerica (Nasdaq: GOAM) priced at $16.

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: ADC Telecom, Autobytel.com and Cognos.

    Technology stocks made strong gains Thursday, pushing the Nasdaq composite up 98 points to 4,267.57. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 80 points to 11,114.27.

    At the Bell

    The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 21 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 2.8 points to 1519 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

    The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 10 to 579.35.

    Asia

    Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.14 percent to 20,252, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 1.85 percent to 2,150 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 2.73 percent to 16,941.

    Europe

    European markets were moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.73 percent to 6,497. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.29 percent to 6,242 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.10 percent to 7,438 at 6:59 a.m. EST.

    Reuters contributed to this report.