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MARKET PREVIEW: PPI determines the day

The PPI report, a key indicator of inflation, will make or break the day for techs Thursday. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


The Producer Price Index, which monitors inflation at the wholesale level will be especially potent in the wake of the Dow Jones industrial average's big advance, and the Nasdaq's decline Wednesday. It will also get extra attention ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting on interest rates next Tuesday, though its already widely assumed the Fed will raise rates by another quarter point.

VA Linux Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LNUX) may get some attention Thursday after the company agreed to buy two closely held companies for a total of $239 million to widen its product offerings.

On the IPO front, ImproveNet (Nasdaq: IMPV) will debut with shares priced at $16 a piece. Two foreign issues are also slated for debut; Philippine power chip assembler Psi Technologies (Nasdaq: PSIT) also priced at $16, and Nordic broadband communications carrier, Tele1 Europe (Nasdaq: TEUR) will start at $18.50.

Other technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Books-A-Million, General Semiconductor, Modem Media Poppe Tyson and Maxtor.

Blue-chip stocks made huge gains Wednesday as investors abandoned the technology sector. The Dow shot up 320 points to 10,131.41 while the Nasdaq shed 124 points to end at 4,582.69.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 34 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 4.8 points to 1418 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 23 to 610.98.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.92 percent to 19,253, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 1.53 percent to 2,022 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 2.32 percent to 16,359.


European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.28 percent to 6,529. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 1.42 percent to 6,276 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.54 percent to 7,528 at 7:01 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.