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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs regain confidence

Earnings may help techs continue to rise out of their Fed-induced funk Thursday. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


Now that Greenspan has given them some encouragement, techs should be back to their own selves. Stocks should continue on their gains after rallying Wednesday, as the Nasdaq composite index soared about 4 percent, to a record 4,550.23, after Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told senators that interest rate hikes aren't specifically aimed at the stock market's high prices.

Quarterly reports are also due from software companies; Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) and VA Linux Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LNUX) will report after the market closes.

Economic reports due Thursday include durable goods orders in January, which are expected to show a 2.0 percent decline vs. a 5.5 percent gain in December ahead of uncertainty around Y2K. Initial jobless claims for last week are also due, with 285,000 new claims expected, up slightly from 283,000 the previous week.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: ATMI, Egghead.com, Nextlink, Priceline.com and Rainbow Technologies.

Internet and semiconductor stocks enjoyed strong gains Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite rallied up 168 points to a record close of 4,550.21. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 79 points to 10.225.73.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 15 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 2 points to 1367 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 51 to 621.03.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.27 percent to 19,571, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.66 percent to 2,123 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 4.16 percent to 17,058.


European markets were moving up. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.31 percent to 6,224. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 2.17 percent to 6,161 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.88 percent to 7,766 at 7:11 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.