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MARKET PREVIEW: China trade pact may boost some techs

Normalized trade with China, a batch of economic news and the latest in Microsoft's antitrust trial will keep techs busy Thursday. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


The U.S. House of Representatives' vote to normalize trade relations with China caused a great deal of after-hours activity for Chinadotcom (Nasdaq: CHINA). Other China players such as (Nasdaq: SINA) and UTStarcom (Nasdaq: UTSI) are likely to get a kick out of the news. Other long-term gainers could include telecom companies such as Lucent (NYSE: LU), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) Nortel (NYSE: NT) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT).

"Simply stated, more exports to China mean more opportunities for American companies and more jobs for American workers," said Christopher B. Galvin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Motorola in a statement .

Other leading US companies that had pushed hard for the measure include Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP).

Economic news will also hold sway over the markets; revised figures on the gross domestic product are due out Thursday morning. The data is expected to show the economy grew at a rate of 5.2 percent in the quarter, down from the previously announced 5.4 percent. The GDP chain deflator, a measure of prices and inflationary pressure which is closely watched as an indicator of what Federal Reserve may do with interest rates, is expected to have remained at 2.7 percent.

Initial jobless claims for the previous week and existing home sales in April are also due. As if that wasn't enough to keep Fed watchers busy; Chairman Alan Greenspan will speak Thursday afternoon to the National Association of Urban bankers.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) will also attract attention; its antitrust trial came to an abrupt end Wednesday when Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson surprised the courtroom by rejecting the company's request for further proceedings. He asked the government to submit its remedy by Friday and gave Microsoft two days to respond.

On the IPO front, Sonus Networks (Nasdaq: SONS) priced its IPO above the original $19-21 range at $23 a share.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Agile Software, Cable Design Technologies,, and Vicinity.

Technology investors finally caught a break Wednesday after Intel said it was ramping up production of its microprocessors to meet surging demand. The Nasdaq composite shook off an early triple-digit deficit to close up 106 points to 3,270.59. The Dow Jones industrial average tagged along, gaining 113 points to 10,535.35.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 36 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 4.8 to 1406 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 14 to 414.79.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.27 to 16,247, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 1.16 percent to 1,850 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.09 percent to 13,921.


European markets were moving ahead. London's FTSE 100 climbed 1.31 percent to 6,198. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 2.09 percent to 6,153 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.84 percent to 6,960 at 7:05 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.

• Summary of US China Trade Pact
• Chinadotcom to invest $250M in China>