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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs hope for holiday cheer

After holding on to a slight gain yesterday, the Nasdaq looks for a year-end rally in what is expected to be a low-volume session ahead of the holiday weekend. The major markets in Asia and Europe moved up and the Dow is set to open higher.


Reporting after the bell Thursday, 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) beat revised Wall Street estimates, announcing a second-quarter loss of 52.4 million, or 15 cents a share, on revenue of $789.5 million.

The company also said it plans to spin off its high-end carrier equipment business, which will result in a one-time charge during the fiscal third quarter. 3Com now expects to be profitable in the first quarter of fiscal year 2002.

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T is considering using cable-TV systems as payment for the $3.2 billion it could owe Cox Communications (NYSE: COX) and Comcast Corp. (NYSE: CCZ) for their shares in Internet company Excite @ Home Corp.

The U.S. government will provide some more financial data, with the release of the durable orders report for November. Analysts expect a modest increase in orders of 1.5 percent for the period after the 5.5 percent decrease reported in October.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN), Viant (Nasdaq: VIAN) and 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS).

The Nasdaq rose slightly Thursday, inching up 7.34 to 2,340.12 while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 168.36 to 10,487.29.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open up 32 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 futures index rose 4.00 to 1292.00, above fair value, at 7:23 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index shed 5 to 260.76.


The major Asian markets saw positive movement. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 78.89 to 14,738.21, the Nikkei 225 snuck up 3.87 to 13,427.08 and the Singapore's Strait Times moved up 4.02 to 1,902.86.


European markets hung on to modest gains as well. London's FTSE 100 rose 17 to 6,132.50, the CAC 40 in Paris inched up 6.74 to 5,765.66 and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 26.69 to 6,227.40 at 7:14 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.