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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Can techs continue to rally?

News of a possible Microsoft antitrust settlement and opposition to the AOL-Time Warner merger could move techs Thursday. Asian markets were mixed, Europe moved down, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.

U.S.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) edged higher in pre-market trading after the Wall Street Journal reported a possible antitrust deal between the software giant and the government.

In other news, Disney has been lobbying Congress about America Online (NYSE: AOL)'s planned merger with Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), the Journal also reported. The entertainment behemoth is worried its programming won't get access to AOL's Web sites.

A bevy of IPOs was preparing for debut; personalization software vendor Blaze Software (Nasdaq: BLZE) priced at $16 a share. Israeli LAN equipment maker Breezecom (Nasdaq: BRZE) raises its terms, and now plans to offer 5 million shares at $17 to $19 each for trading Thursday. Iteris (Nasdaq: ITER) lowered the price talk again to $8, after first lowering it to $9. The offering had an original range of $11 to 13 a share.

On the earnings front, Osicom Technologies (Nasdaq: FIBR) will report its fourth quarter. ValueVision (Nasdaq: VVTV), PublicCARD (Nadsdaq: CARD) will also report results.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: AOL, American Xtal, Microsoft, RCM Technologies and Segue Software.

Technology stocks continued their recent hot streak Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite motored up 153 points to 4,864.58. The Dow Jones industrial average closed off 41 points to 10,866.70.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 38 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 5.3 points to 1512 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 16 to 664.00.

Asia

Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.15 percent to 19,704, Singapore's Strait Times index slipped 0.32 percent to 2,126 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.93 percent to 17,710.

Europe

European markets were moving down. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.63 percent to 6,567. The CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.80 percent to 6,229 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 1.15 percent to 7,709 at 7:01 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.