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MARKET PREVIEW: Tough times in tech

There were no early signs of a turnaround in the U.S. markets Thursday, a day after the Nasdaq slipped to its lowest close in nearly two years. European and Asian markets fell, while early indicators have the Dow set to open slightly higher.


The U.S. markets closed off another dismal session Wednesday, sparked by a higher-than-expected inflation data. The Nasdaq closed down 2.1 percent to 2,268.94, while the Dow Jones industrial average shed 204.30 to 10,526.58. A flat futures number on Thursday suggests no rally in today's session.

German engineering and electronics giant Siemens said on Thursday it will buy U.S. broadband network company Efficient Networks (Nasdaq: EFNT) for $1.5 billion in cash. The Munich-based company said it would pay $23.50 per share, a 90 percent premium to the Efficient's share price at market close Wednesday.

Fibre channel switch maker Brocade Communications (Nasdaq: BRCD) will be active after the company beat the Street in its first quarter but also lowered its second-quarter and fiscal year expectations, reporting after yesterday's close. Brocade shares continued to slide in pre-session action Thursday.

The story is much the same at ADC Telecommunications (Nasdaq: ADCT). The company snuck past analysts' estimates in its first quarter but lowered its sales and earnings targets for the second quarter and the rest of the fiscal year.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: ADC Telecommunications, Brocade and Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF).

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open up 8 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 futures index crept up 0.10 to 1256.60 at 7:23 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index dropped 6 to 232.72.


The major Asian markets moved lower. The Nikkei 225 fell 26.72 to 13,073.36, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 252.87 to 15,098.64, and Singapore's Straights Times closed down 16.60 to 1,944.62.


European markets lost ground, as well. London's FTSE 100 was off 17.60 to 5,954.80, the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 40.93 to 5,433.44, and the DAX in Frankfurt shed 80.96 to 6,267.03 at 7:16 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.