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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Techs react to Fed and Amazon

Techs should gain some momentum Thursday after the Fed lived up to investors' expectations, and Amazon surprised them with the promise of profit. Asia and Europe were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

The Fed did as expected and raised interest rates by a quarter-percentage point while Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) announced it would try to make some money.

Though Amazon reported a larger-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter, the company's officials, including even its heretofore profit-averse CEO said they would focus on profitability this year.

Amazon's competitor in the book retailing space, barnesandnoble.com (Nasdaq: BNBN) is expected to report earnings Thursday. CDNow (Nasdaq: CDNW), CNET (Nasdaq: CNET) and Electronic Data Systems (NYSE: EDS) are also slated to report.

On the IPO front, Centra Software Inc (Nasdaq: CTRA) upped its range to $10-$12 a share from $8-$10 for trading Thursday. Alamosa PCS Holdings (Nasdaq: APCS), part of the Sprint PCS Group (NYSE:PCS) network, is expected to price 10.7 million shares in the range of $13 to $15 per share.

Economic data on December factory orders is due, with economists expecting a 0.6 percent rise, compared to a 1.2 percent gain in November, though the news isn't likely to attract attention while investors are still exhaling after the Fed's quarter-percentage-point hike.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Amazon.com, AT&T, iXL Enterprises, Metricom and Next Level.

As expected, the Federal Reserve Board bumped short-term interest rates up one-quarter of a percent Wednesday, resulting in a rather languid reaction on Wall Street. The Nasdaq composite added 22 points to 4,073.96 while the Dow lost 38 points.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 16 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 2 points to 1417 at 7:38 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 10 to 566.44.

Asia

Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.06 percent to 19,786, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.97 percent to 2,249 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.13 percent to 15,968.

Europe

European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 lost 0.06 percent to 6,299. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 1.21 percent to 6,019 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.20 percent to 7,157 at 7:01 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.