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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye economic data

Consumer confidence figures will be the focus on Wall Street as investors look for indicators that the Fed could cut interest rates again. Asian markets were down, Europe was up, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


A key economic indicator will come out before Tuesday's market open--consumer confidence numbers are expected to have declined to 105 from 106.8 in February. A lower number is a sign of a slower economy--which could be good news to those hoping that the Federal Reserve's will cut interest rates again.

All eyes will also be on Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan as he addresses a conference on monetary policy before markets open. Though the chairman is not scheduled to speak on the topic, investors will have their ears perked for hints.

In company news, Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) both announced restructuring moves that involve lay-offs; Swedish Ericsson said Tuesday it will cut about 3,300 jobs and close two British plants. Finnish rival Nokia will slash 400 jobs and restructure its broadband unit.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues:, Manugistics, Palm and TranSwitch.

Technology stocks stagnated Monday as investors poured money into blue chip industrial stocks. The Nasdaq fell 10.19 points to 1,918.49, while the Dow rose 182.75 points to 9,687.53. The S&P 500 gained 12.86 to 1,152.69.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open 26 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 3 points to 1170 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 2 to 181.78.


Trading in Asia was down. The Nikkei 225 fell 223.98 to 1,3638.33, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 38.80 to 1,679.39, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 242.59 to 1,2707.90.


European markets were up. London's FTSE 100 rose 47.90 to 5,624.50, the CAC 40 in Paris gained 58.20 to 5,183.00 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 96.29 to 5,823.26.

Reuters contributed to this report.