A few earnings and some more economic news will be in the spotlight Friday, as triple-witching stirs up some volatility. Asian and European markets were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.
Even though it appears the Federal Reserve Board may continue raising interest rates despite signs that the economy is slowing, investors will continue to scrutinize every bit of economic news. A report on housing starts and building permits will be the latest indicator. The rate is expected to have slipped to an annual rate of 1.62 million in May, down from 1.66 million in April.
The markets may be more volatile than usual Friday as "triple witching" -- the simultaneous expiration of the futures market, cash market and options -- takes effect.
Earnings from a couple of software providers, Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) and Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE), which both reported better-than-expected results after the market close Thursday, should also get some attention.
America Online (NYSE: AOL) is the latest company to get caught up in anti trust concerns; the company submitted a proposal to allow open access to its Instant Messenger system Thursday, in response to a federal inquiry.
The following technology stocks should be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Adobe Systems, Jabil Circuit, Metricom, Perot Systems and Red Hat.
At Thursday's close, technology stocks made decent gains as the Nasdaq composite picked up 48 points to close at 3,845.64. Software, personal computer and networking stocks moved higher. The Dow Jones industrial average managed to close up 27 points to 10,714.872
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 47 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 6.7 to 1504 at 7:31 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.
The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 2 to 478.72.
Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.12 to 16,318, Singapore's Strait Times index fell 1.15 percent to 2,012 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 2.20 percent to 16,434.
European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.38 percent to 6,515. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.22 percent to 6,498 and the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.43 percent to 7,297 at 6:57 a.m. EST.
Reuters contributed to this report.