MARKET PREVIEW: Telco plays set stage for techs

Bell Atlantic and Motorola announced big plays Monday that will beef them up for dominance in the wireless and broadband markets. Asia moved ahead while European markets retreated and the Dow is set to open lower.

U.S.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) confirmed that it is in talks to combine its U.S. wireless telephone business with Britain's Vodafone AirTouch (NYSE: VOD) cellular operations. The deal, which would create a new company worth up to $80 billion, could be announced this week, according to the Financial Times.

Wireless telephone and semiconductor maker Motorola Inc. (NYSE:MOT) is also in talks to buy cable TV equipment maker General Instrument Corp. (NYSE:GIC), according to the Wall Street Journal. The move to acquire the maker of TV set-top boxes is an advance into the interactive broadband market.

Other re-strategizing is to be announced from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which will unveil a plan to dominate software development in the post-personal-computer era in San Francisco Monday. The move will enable creators of new Web-based applications and electronic-commerce services to use enhanced Windows technology.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Monday's most actively traded issues: Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL), General Instrument Corp. (NYSE:GIC), Harbinger Corp. (Nasdaq: HRBC) and PairGain Technologies Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: PAIR).

Internet stocks staged a brisk rally Friday, lifting the Nasdaq composite 35 points to an all-time high of 2,886.96. The Dow spent most of the day in the black before some late selling pushed it down 51 points to a close of 11,028.43.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 78 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 9.6 points to 1360 at 7:35 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

Asia

Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.12 percent to 17,909, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 0.29 percent to 2,139 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched ahead 0.04 percent to 13,861.

Europe

European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.17 percent to 6,181. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.16 percent to 4,738 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.43 percent to 5,461 at 7:00 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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