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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye telecom deals

    Telecom deals may draw techs out of their Fed fixation Monday, though the final countdown to Tuesday's meeting on interest rates is sure to keep the broader market preoccupied. Asian markets were mixed, Europe was up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

    U.S.

    After hiking interest rates twice this year, the Federal Reserve is now is now expected to take no action on rates when it meets Tuesday. The third and last meeting this year for Fed policy makers is still likely to keep techs skittish until the outcome is known.

    Telecom stocks will steal the spotlight amid reports of a takeover battle for No. 3 long-distance carrier Sprint. BellSouth Corp., a regional carrier in the Southeast, upped the ante by offering $72 billion in cash and stock, topping a $65 billion bid from MCI WorldCom, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    It's also been reported that leading long-distance carrier AT&T is considering issuing tracking stocks designed to increase shareholder value.

    Stocks which may be active include Micron Technology (NYSE MU), AT&T (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: FON), and BellSouth (NYSE: BLS).

    Worries about inflation sent technology shares lower to end the week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 9.30 to 2,736.86, Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index dropped 32.29 to 4,924.80, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 63.95 to 10,273.00. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 0.10 to 1,282.81.

    At the Bell

    The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 31 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 3.9 points to 1297 at 7:32 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

    The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was resting at 322.68.

    Asia

    Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.29 percent to 17,764, Singapore's Strait Times index lost 0.65 percent to 2,038 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.12 percent to 12,876.

    Europe

    European markets all gained ground. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.58 percent to 6,005. The CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.76 percent to 4,585 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.19 percent to 5,186 at 7:00 a.m. EST.

    Reuters contributed to this report.