THE DAY AHEAD: Market Preview

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Watch for techs to lead the IPO march Friday, and slight volatility as the "triple witching" expiry of futures and options stirs up an otherwise slow drift into the weekend. Asia and Europe lifted as interest rate worries eased, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.


After two days of hanging on hints of the Fed's interest initiative, technology stocks should relax, though dealers noted that Friday's "triple witching" expiry of June futures and options contracts could liven things up. On a triple witching day, a quarterly event, options on futures contracts and the futures themselves expire on the same day. The result is a surge in volume as traders seek to cover their positions.

Goto.com Inc. (Proposed ticker: GOTO) will lead the parade of initial public offerings. Goto.com priced at $15.

Among the other IPOs on deck today: Viant Inc. (Proposed ticker: VIAN) is priced at $16 with competitor AppNet Systems Inc. (Proposed ticker: APNT) pricing this morning. Mail.com (Proposed ticker: MAIL), a free email provider like USA.Net, is priced at $7, well below its price range. Streamline.com Inc. (Proposed ticker: SLNE) is priced at $10.

The market didn't stage a huge rally Thursday, but did finish with decent gains as Internet and software stocks were solid for the second day in a row. The Dow added 57 points to 10,841.63 while the Nasdaq moved up 26 points to 2,544. The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 5.12 to 289.45.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Adobe Systems, (Nasdaq: ADBE) which moved up in after-market trading after beating second quarter estimates, and BMC Software, (Nasdaq: BMCS), which said Thursday it will take a $16 million charge in its first quarter and layoff 275 employees as a result of past acquisitions.

Cotelligent (NYSE: CZG) may be a downer after it warned Thursday it would report a fiscal first quarter loss ranging between $13 million and $15 million, including one-time events.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average is set to open about 24 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 3 points to 1358 at 8:00 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.


Subsiding fears over rising U.S. interest rates pushed most Asian markets higher, though the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.22 percent to 17,431 after reaching its highest close since October 1997. Singapore's Strait Times index rose 0.65 percent to 2070. The Hong Kong market was closed for a public holiday.


European markets were also relieved of interest hike worries.

London's FTSE 100 gained 1.26 percent to 6,575 the CAC 40 in Paris lifted 0.64 percent to 4537. and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt added 1.02 percent to 5471at 6:35 a.m. EST.