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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs size up economic news

Investors will size up another piece of the economic puzzle Friday as productivity data is added into the picture on inflation. Asia was mixed, Europe was up, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


The Labor Department's quarterly data on non-farm productivity gains - a measurement of worker productivity -- will be the inspiration for investors Friday. It's the last piece of economic data the Fed will receive before it decides what to do with interest rates next Tuesday. Analysts expect productivity to have surged 3 percent in the third quarter, after being flat at the 0.6-percent level for the previous quarter of April to June. The Commerce Department will also release retail sales figures for October.

Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) should also see attention Friday, as the market reacts to its earnings announced after the bell yesterday. The computer seller reported third-quarter profits in line with expectations.

On the IPO front, Finisar (Proposed ticker: FNSR) priced at $19 a share, and Somera communications (Proposed ticker: SMRA) priced at $12.

Expect these technology stocks to the day's other most actively traded issues: Internet Capital Group, iVillage, Project Software and Sterling Software.

Semiconductor and personal computer stocks ignited another rally in the technology sector Thursday, sending the Nasdaq composite up 41 points to another record close of 3,197.21. The Dow Jones industrial average closed off 2 points to 10,595.30.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 25 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 3.3 points to 1391 at 7:51 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 2 to 400.43.


Trading in Asia was on an upswing, with the exception of the Nikkei 225, which slumped 0.38 percent to 18,259. Singapore's Strait Times index gained 1.49 percent to 2,186 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.60 percent to 14,190.


European markets were moving down. London's FTSE 100 lost 0.43 percent to 6,523. The CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.16 percent to 5,124 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.59 percent to 5,768 at 7:04 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.