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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye Dell, Lucent

Possible job cuts at Dell, along with an investigation of accounting irregularities at Lucent, should hold investors' attention on Friday. Europe markets traded lower while those in Asia were mixed. Early indicators have the Dow set to open slightly higher.


The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) is preparing for job cuts that could see staff reduced by 11 percent. The cuts, which would be the first in the computer company's history, are part of an effort to reduce expenses amid an industry slowdown, the paper said.

Separately, the newspaper reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is formally investigating possible fraudulent accounting practices at Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU). The inquiry will focus on $679 million in revenue from fiscal 2000, the same revenue the company restated back in December after conducting its own investigation, the report said.

Shares of Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP) moved up in pre-session trading after the data storage hardware maker met earnings estimates and maintained its earnings outlook.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Brooktrout (Nasdaq: BRKT), Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP), Pixar (Nasdaq: PIXR) and Razorfish (Nasdaq: RAZF).

The Nasdaq ended Thursday's session down 45.76 to 2,562.06 while the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 66.17 to 10,880.55.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open up 6.5 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 futures index rose 0.80 to 1335.80 at 7:21 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index slipped 4 to 273.72.


The major Asian markets were mixed. The Nikkei 225 posted a triple-digit gain, up 284.60 to 13,422.83. Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Singapore's Straights Times both fell, off 36.12 to 15,873.28 and 8.97 to 1973.37.


European markets traded lower. London's FTSE 100 slipped 19.70 to 6,186.40, the CAC 40 in Paris lost 55.46 to 5,718.00 and the DAX in Frankfurt traded down 83.45 to 6,553.36 at 7:09 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.