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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye jobs data

Friday's job data could crush or intensify the market's optimism. A slowing economy has boosted techs this week. Asian and European markets were up, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


After a number of economic and sales reports this week have suggested the economy may be slowing down, and the Federal Reserve may therefore be less inclined to keep raising interest rates, all eyes will be on Friday's job data to make or break the trend.

The Labor Department's report on May employment is due out before the markets open, and is expected to show hourly wages rose 0.4 percent in May, the same as April's increase. The unemployment rate should stay steady at 3.9 percent, and the average workweek is predicted to remain at 34.6 hours. A report on factory orders is also due later in the morning, and is forecast to show orders fell 3.0 percent in April after a 2.8 percent increase in March.

Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) trial will drag on even longer; the judge granted the government more time in the trial Thursday, after it unexpectedly said it might incorporate a few of Microsoft's suggestions into its proposal to split the firm.

On the IPO front Exult (Nasdaq: EXLT) priced at $10 a share, the bottom of its range, after it lowered terms on its 6 million shares to $10-12.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: ION Networks, Wind River Systems and WorldCom.

Investors snapped up technology shares Thursday following some encouraging economic news suggesting the economy is beginning to slow a bit. The Nasdaq composite shot up 182 points to 3,582.46 while the Dow moved up 130 points to close at 10.652.20.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 26 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 3.3 to 1455 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 27 to 448.38.


Trading in Asia was on a downswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.68 to 16,800, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 3.98 percent to 1,910 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 2.3 percent to 15,284.


European markets were also headed up. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.66 percent to 6,513. The CAC 40 in Paris jumped 0.67 percent to 6,643 and the DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.65 percent to 7,320 at 7:05 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.