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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs eye economic news

Economic data on manufacturing activity, construction spending and vehicle sales will help techs decide whether or not to continue their rally Wednesday. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


After turning around and launching into a rally Tuesday, techs are likely to move on the day's economic reports. The National Association of Purchasing Management's index is expected to be at 56.3 for February, the same level as January. Reports on construction spending, truck and auto sales are also due.

A deal between Baby Bells SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) may shake up some wireless competition; the two companies are in talks to merge their U.S. cellular-phone businesses to create a nearly national wireless provider, the Wall Street Journal reported.

More bad news for DoubleClick may also make waves in the marketing sector; AltaVista and have distanced themselves from the Internet advertising network, partly out of concerns about its privacy issues, according to Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

On the IPO front, small office services e-marketplace, (Nasdaq: ONVI), priced shares at $21 each. MatrixOne (Nasdaq: MONE), a provider of web collaboration software, priced 5 million shares at $25 each.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most active issues: Art Technology, BellSouth, DoubleClick, eMerge Interactive, Evolving Systems, and Vitesse.

Chip and telecommunications stocks pushed the Nasdaq up 119 points to a record close of 4,696.57 Tuesday while the Dow Jones industrial average moved up 90 points to 10128.31.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 10 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 1.3 points to 1373 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 16 to 628.34.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.61 percent to 20,081, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.30 percent to 2,114 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.90 percent to 16,843.


European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.78 percent to 6,343. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.61 percent to 6,228 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.88 percent to 7,711 at 7:11 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.