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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs await interest rate news

After their irrational exuberance just prior to Tuesday's close, who knows what techs will do ahead of the Fed's decision on interest rates, due out Wednesday afternoon. Asian and European markets moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


The day of reckoning is finally here for interest rates; the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee's decision is due early Wednesday afternoon. Now that a rate hike is expected, and built in to the market judging by yesterday's exuberance, and the only question is whether or not short-term rates will rise one quarter of a percentage point or a half point.

Aside from interest rate news, data on December new home sales and the month's leading economic indicators will also be released.

There is also another big quarterly report on deck. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is slated to report after Wednesday's bell. The e-commerce giant is predicted to report losses of 48 cents a share, much wider than the 7-cent-a-share loss a year earlier.

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), soon to be merged with AOL (NYSE: AOL) will also report results, as will Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q), which is merging with USWest (NYSE: USW).

On the IPO front, Telaxis Communications Corp, (Nasdaq: TLXS), a wireless player, priced at $17 a share for trading Wednesday.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: GlobeSpan, NBC Internet, PeopleSoft, VerticalNet and Wink Communications.

Technology stocks made strong gains Tuesday ahead of a likely raise in interest rates as the Nasdaq composite charged up 112 points to 4,051.98 while the Dow Jones industrial average added 101 points to 11,041.05.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 8 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 1 point to 1417 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 18 to 551.46.


Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.80 percent to 19,578, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 1.84 percent to 2,271 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.87 percent to 15,789.


European markets were also moving ahead. London's FTSE 100 grew 0.44 percent to 6,318. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced 1.88 percent to 5,881 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.73 percent to 7,101 at 6:49 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.