A big exchange traded fund that serves as a proxy for Nasdaq tech stocks was set to rise Tuesday as investors focused on reports Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) is close to buying Skype and hearings in Washington that will feature Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG) and Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL).

The $26 billion PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) was up 0.4% before the bell.

Microsoft is close to clinching a deal to purchase Internet phone company Skype for between $7 billion and $8 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. Microsoft shares were fractionally positive in premarket trading. The acquisition could help Microsoft catch up to Apple and Google in the mobile-phone market, WSJ reported. eBay (NasdaqGS: EBAY) has a partial stake in Skype.

Separately, Google and Apple executives will face lawmakers Tuesday and will face questions over privacy issues and location data related to iPhones and other devices.

In other headlines, Apple is set to announce a partnership with voice recognition company Nuance, TechCrunch reports.

PowerShares QQQ has 12.1% in Apple, 8.2% in Microsoft and 5.1% in Google. The ETF is up about 8% this year, about even with the S&P 500.

PowerShares QQQ

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