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Tech Industry

MARKET PREVIEW: Dell cloud hovers over techs

Dell could be a drag on techs Thursday, though a batch of new earnings and an IPO may give them some incentive to perk up. Asian markets moved up, Europe was mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly higher.

U.S.

Dell Computer's (Nasdaq: DELL) bad news could compound worries caused lackluster outlooks from Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Compaq Computer (NYSE: CPQ). Dell reported lower-than-expected profits in its first quarter, which sent the stock down almost 10 percent in after-hour trading. Dell blamed a shortage of high-end computer chips, and said sales didn't rebound from a Y2K lull.

GTE Corp (NYSE:GTE), iVillage (Nasdaq: IVIL), Priceline (Nasdaq: PCLN) and Etoys (Nasdaq: ETYS) will offer up their quarterly reports Thursday.

On the IPO front, Extensity (Nasdaq: EXTN) raised its range twice before pricing its 4 million shares at $20 each.

In economic news, a report on fourth-quarter employment costs has been postponed to Friday due to the snowstorm. Reports on December durable goods orders and the weekly jobless claims are due out Thursday.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most heavily traded issues: Allaire, Computer Associates, Dell, InfoSpace and Ticketmaster-CitySearch.

Some less-than-stellar earnings reports from the likes of Qualcomm and BMC Software pushed the Nasdaq composite down 97 points to 4,070.12 while the Dow Jones industrial average inched up 3 points to finish at 11,032.99.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 16 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 2 points to 1417 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was down 19 to 549.17.

Asia

Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.52 percent to 19,209, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 2.05 percent to 2,306 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 3.18 percent to 15,917.

Europe

European markets were mixed. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.52 percent to 6,409. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.02 percent to 5,645 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.15 percent to 6,958 at 6:49 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.