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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Techs drift into August

Techs should shuffle slowly into August Monday as earnings have died down, and there is little for investors to do but chew over last week's economic data. Asia was mixed, Europe was down, and the Dow is set to open lower.


The long slow month between second and third quarter earnings has begun. Though heat and vacation time usually keep techs low in August, they are coasting on stronger than usual earnings this year. Income at the 654 companies that make up the U.S. part of the Dow Jones Global Indexes rose 37 percent over the second quarter of 1998, according to a Monday Wall Street Journal article. The figure does not include the extraordinary $24.5 billion gain by MediaOne Group.

In economic news, all eyes are on the monthly jobs data due out Friday, with a focus on how it may influence the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates when it meets near the end of the month. Monday's data includes the July purchasing index, to be released by the National Association of Purchasing Management. The NAPM index measures business confidence by indicating whether the manufacturing sector is expanding or contracting. It is expected to fall to 55.7, from 57 in June.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Monday's most actively traded issues: Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Teradyne Inc. (NYSE: TER) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), which said it will unveil a multi-media dynamo chip called the MAJC (pronounced magic)at the Hot Chips Conference at Stanford University later this month.

Familiar gripes about a possible interest-rate hike paralyzed Wall Street Friday as the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 136 points to close at 10,655.15 while the Nasdaq trimmed 2 points to end at 2,638.49.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 41 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 5.1 points to 1326 at 7:35 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sunk 3.69 to 278.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.20 percent to 17,825, Singapore's Strait Times index lost 0.80 percent to 2,128 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.88 percent to 13,435.


European markets were looking down. London's FTSE 100 fell 1.05 percent to 6,166. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 2.13 percent to 4,289 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 2.11 percent to 4,994 at 6:50 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.