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MARKET PREVIEW: Will rate angst drag on?

Techs will likely remain rocky on rate anxiety Tuesday, as Greenspan is scheduled to wrap up his semiannual "Humphrey-Hawkins" testimony this Wednesday. Asia and Europe were up, and the Dow is set to open higher.


With Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan scheduled to speak on interest rate policy before the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, anxiety over a possible rate hike should keep the market volatile, though earnings released after last night's bell, and another batch this morning might inspire some recovery.

Net issues led the tech decline Monday, but there was more to America Online Inc.'s 7.2 percent drop than just interest rate angst. Rumors flew as insiders, including Steve Case, chairman and chief executive officer, and Robert Pittman, the company's president, sold about 4 million shares, according to an article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. The company said insiders were just taking advantage of seasonal open windows between regulatory restricted periods. Fear over competition in instant messaging from Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. may have also contributed to AOL's fall, the article added.

In economic news, the Conference Board's report on consumer confidence for July is due out later Tuesday morning, and is expected to drop slightly, to 137.9 from June's 138.4 -- indicating a slight drop in confidence about the economy.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Cheap Tickets Inc. (Nasdaq: CTIX), eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), Pixar Animation Studios Inc. (Nasdaq: PIXR), Remedy Corp. (Nasdaq: RMDY) and Inc. (Nasdaq: TALK).

Technology stocks took another merciless pounding in light trading Monday as the Nasdaq composite plunged 73 points to 2,619.16. The Dow Jones industrial average closed off 48 points to 10,863.16.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 69 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 8.6 points to 1363 at 7:42 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sunk 13.87 to 281.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.16 percent to 17,462, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 3.06 percent to 1,999 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.62 percent to 13,075.


European markets were rising. London's FTSE 100 gained 1.13 percent to 6,238. The CAC 40 in Paris grew 0.60 percent to 4,428 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.73 percent to 5,244 at 6:35 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.