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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Economic news takes center stage

Techs will absorb some of the last major economic news ahead of the Fed meeting, as they make or break the month with January's last day of trading. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved down, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

If the year goes as January goes, techs are in for a slump, though not as poor as that of the overall markets. Techs have a long way to go if they want to close January with gains. The Nasdaq needs to rise 182 to match its record close of 4,069.28 on December 31. The Dow, on the other hand, has over 700 points to go if it is to end January above water.

Personal income and consumer spending data will grab investors' attention ahead of the much-anticipated interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve Wednesday. After surprisingly strong numbers on gross domestic product and the employment cost index Friday, stocks will be especially sensitive. Personal income in December is expected to have risen 0.5 percent, and consumer spending is expected to have risen 0.8 percent. If the economy outpaces these predictions, watch out below.

Though economics will grab center stage, a few earnings will continue to trickle in, with Freemarkets (Nasdaq: FMKT) reporting Monday morning.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Monday's most actively traded issues: Compaq, Mattson Technology, Network Peripherals and Technology Solutions.

Inflation worries sent stocks into a tailspin Friday as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 288 points to 10,739.81 and the Nasdaq composite tumbled 151 points to close at 3,888.43.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 39 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 5 points to 1371 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 27 to 520.99.

Asia

Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.54 percent to 19,539, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 2.39 percent to 2,230 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 4.04 percent to 15,532.

Europe

European markets were slumping. London's FTSE 100 lost 0.88 percent to 6,319. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 1.02 percent to 5,672 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 2.50 percent to 6,889 at 7:21 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.