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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs look for a bottom

Warnings from Lucent and AT&T will weigh on the beleaguered tech sector, a day after the Nasdaq fell to its lowest level in 20 months. Asian and European markets fell and the Dow is set to open higher.

U.S.

Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) warned for its first quarter Thursday morning, saying it expects a much steeper loss from continuing operations than analysts had estimated. The maker of telecom gear also cut its previously reported fourth-quarter results and said it would restructure.

The warnings continued after yesterday's close. AT&T (NYSE: T) cut its fourth quarter earnings and revenue targets again on Thursday. Streaming media company RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) also warned of a fourth quarter miss due to slowing online advertising sales.

Broadband company Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q) reconfirmed its estimates for 2000 and 2001, citing strong demand and continued revenue growth.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Cabletron Systems (NYSE: CS), Micron Technology (NYSE: MU), Liberate Technologies (Nasdaq: LBRT) and Palm (Nasdaq: PALM).

The Nasdaq dropped 178.93 to 2,332.78 Wednesday while the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 265.44 to 10,318.93.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open up 49 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 futures index rose 6.10 to 1285.70, above fair value, at 7:19 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index shed 29 to 265.31.

Asia

The major Asian markets lost ground. Hong Kong's Hang Seng and the Nikkei 225 dropped triple-digits, down 271.40 to 14,659.32 and 491.22 to 13,423.21, respectively. Singapore's Strait Times shed 30.48 to 1,898.84.

Europe

European markets were off as well. London's FTSE 100 dropped 29.9 to 6,146.80, the CAC 40 in Paris was down 16.85 to 5,749.45 and the DAX in Frankfurt slipped 22.01 to 6,226.75 at 7:15 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.