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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs look for upbeat opener

Thursday's last minute rally looks set to continue Friday, with overseas markets and futures looking up. Asian markets were mixed, Europe was up, and the Dow is set to open sharply higher.

The markets look likely to end this week's roller coaster ride on a high note, judging from early indicators. The week has been volatile due to the reactions to Tuesday's Federal Reserve meeting, which resulted in a slightly smaller cut to interest rates than some had expected.

Linux operating system company Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) should see some attention after reporting it hit estimates in its fiscal fourth quarter, better than the 1-cent-a-share loss analysts expected.

WebMD (Nasdaq: HLTH) will also be active--the online healthcare information provider posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter. It lost $51.8 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $199 million. First Call consensus had projected a loss of 16 cents a share.


Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Red Hat, Riverstone, WebMD.

Tech stocks enjoy a decent rally Thursday as the Nasdaq composite gains 67 points to finish at 1,897.71. Blue chip stocks weren't as fortunate. Blue chip stocks sustained heavy losses despite a rally in late trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed off 98 points to 9,389.48 after tumbling more than 300 points in early trading.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open 114 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 13.8 points to 11433 at 7:19 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 6 to 182.38.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 360.57 to 1,3214.54. Singapore's Strait Times index gained 31.79 to 1,715.31 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 38.49 to 1,2583.36.


European markets were down. London's FTSE 100 rose 104.20 to 5,419.00, the CAC 40 in Paris gained 122.80 to 4,947.62 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 153.79 to 5,541.81.

Reuters contributed to this report.