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MARKET PREVIEW: All eyes on Palm

The Nasdaq should see clear sailing Thursday, as investors who've been palming shares of 3Com all week will finally see the spin-off of its Palm division. Asian and European markets were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) will finally make its debut Thursday, with 23 million shares at $38 each, a whopping $22 above the high of its initial range of $14 to $16. The 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) spin-off makes the most popular PDA, Palm.

Switchboard (Nasdaq: SWBD), an online directory also priced its shares at $15 each for trading Thursday.

DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK) is in the news for privacy issues again, but this time its Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) in the spotlight; the personal finance software maker' Quicken Web site was leaking information to advertisers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The company has moved quickly to address the problem, the Journal added. A design quirk in the mortgage-calculator and credit-assessment feature on the Quicken site collected information from customers regarding income, assets and debt and then sent it to DoubleClick, which said it doesn't keep any of the data it received.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Adobe Systems, Net2Phone, Palm, Silicon Graphics and Verio.

Technology stocks made strong gains again Wednesday, pushing the Nasdaq composite up 88 points to a record close of 4,784.32. The Dow Jones industrial average cooled in late trading but still managed to close up 8 points to 10,136.38.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 17 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 2.3 points to 1382 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 13 to 690.64.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.08 percent to 20,065, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.18 percent to 2,110 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.55 percent to 16,936.


European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 dropped 0.34 percent to 6,343. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 1.20 percent to 6,320 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 1.04 percent to 7,637 at 7:11 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.