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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs to coast ahead of three-day weekend

Techs should be quiet ahead of the long weekend Friday, resting after lifting the Nasdaq to record heights again Thursday. Asia and Europe were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


The only economic news that could stir up the market before the three-day Fourth of July weekend is the U.S. jobs report, which just might give a smidgen of insight into whether the Fed will raise interest rates again in August. The report is expected to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT, showing a 200,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls, and a jobless rate steady at 4.2 percent. If unemployment were to fall, and wages rise, the Fed could be inclined to hoist interest rates again.

The Treasury market is taking off early for the long weekend, at 2 p.m. EDT. Markets will be closed Monday.

Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) said it has filed a suit against Future Power, Daewoo Group and Daewoo Telecom, charging that a new PC launched by Future Power is too close for comfort to its iMac.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has inked an agreement with rival RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) to use its software for Microsoft's WebTV. Microsoft is also in the news for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission confirmation it is examining its "reserves and reserve policies."

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Excite@Home(Nasdaq: ATHM), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Omtool Ltd. (Nasdaq: OMTL), SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), Western Wireless Corp. (Nasdaq: WWCA), and Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST), which finally convinced USWest Inc. (NYSE: USW) to talk over its offer.

Technology stocks, led by leading Internet issues, enjoyed another strong day Thursday as the Nasdaq composite added 20 to 2,706.21, another record close. The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 96 points to 11,066.42.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index edged up 2.11 to 314.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open about 18 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 2.2 points to 1390 at 7:25 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.


Trading in Asia was mostly up. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.40 percent to 17,932, hitting a high for the year. Singapore's Strait Times index rose 0.35 percent to 2,222 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng galloped 4.82 to percent to 14184 as it made up for missed Fed gains on Thursday's public holiday.


European markets were inching down. London's FTSE 100 dropped 0.15 percent to 6,479. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.29 percent to 4,595 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt slid 0.20 percent to 5,469 at 6:50 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.