Investors will start the new quarter by focusing on economic data. Asian and European markets were in the red, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.
Economic news on deck Monday includes the National Association of Purchasing Management's index of manufacturing activity, due after the market opens. The index will indicate that manufacturing is continuing to slow. Economists are forecasting a reading of 42.5 for March, up from the 41.9 in February, but still below 50--the cut-off point that divides a slowing manufacturing sector from one that is growing.
Auto sales and February construction spending information are also due out Monday afternoon.
In company news, Internet advertising company DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK) may see some action after a U.S. judge dismissed privacy lawsuits against it Friday, finding its ad serving and data collection practices did not violate any federal laws.
Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) may also incite interest. The software developer said Friday that it will hit sales targets for the fiscal year, and will pull in revenue of between $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion this calendar year.
Expect the following technology stocks to be among Monday's most actively traded issues: Acxiom, DoubleClick EDS and Symantec.
Investors digested some more conflicting economic data Friday, but chose to close out a forgettable first quarter with a bit of buying. The Nasdaq composite added 20 points to close at 1,840.27, down 88 points for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average moved up 80 points to finish at 9,878.78, up 374 points for the week.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 19 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 2.2 points to 11671 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 26 to 162.38.
Trading in Asia was on a downward swing. The Nikkei 225 dropped 61.84 to 1,2937.86, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 25.29 to 1,648.90 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 33.34 to 1,2727.30.
European markets moved into the red. London's FTSE 100 fell 39.20 to 5,594.50. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 57.77 to 5,122.68 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 74.58 to 5,755.37.
Reuters contributed to this report.