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Earnings Roundup: FreeMarkets gets past 3Q forecasts

FreeMarkets posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter Monday, losing $12.3 million, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $26.6 million. It also said it expects to break even two quarters ahead of previous estimates.

FreeMarkets (Nasdaq: FMKT) shares closed up $2.47 to $49.97 ahead of the earnings report before moving up to $50.63 in after-hours trading.

First Call Corp. consensus expected the online business-to-business auctioneer to lose 42 cents a share in the quarter.

In the year-ago quarter, FreeMarkets posted a loss of $4.9 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $5.3 million.

"Our third quarter results demonstrate the strength of our business and our continued ability to execute and scale our model," said CEO Glen Meakem in a prepared release. "Given the strength and momentum of our business, we believe that we will break even from an operating standpoint by the first quarter of 2002, which is two full quarters earlier than analysts had previously predicted."

In the quarter, FreeMarkets facilitated more than $2.93 billion in auctions, up 34 percent from the second quarter.

Gross profit margins jumped to 46 percent from 43 percent last quarter.

Last quarter, it beat the Street when it posted a loss of $12.8 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $19.4 million.

The stock moved as high $370 in January before falling to a low of $32.50 earlier this month.

Seventeen of the 18 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Analysts expect FreeMarkets to lose $1.41 a share in the fiscal year.

Among other technology companies reporting earnings Monday:

  • Activsion (Nasdaq: ATVI) easily topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter, raking in $4.3 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $144.4 million.

    Analysts expected the video game developer to earn 9 cents a share in the quarter.

    Activision shares closed up 50 cents to $14.94 ahead of the earnings report.

    CEO Robert Kotick said the company now expects to earn 63 cents a share in the quarter, 7 cents above current analyst estimates.

    "Our competitive position domestically and internationally remains stronger than ever," Kotick said in a prepared release. "With U.S. debut of the PlayStation2 just three days away and the upcoming holiday season, we are optimistic about our continued market momentum."

  • Corio (Nasdaq: CRIO) posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter, dropping $20 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $13.8 million.

    Analysts were looking for a loss of 61 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 63 cents to $7 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Network Commerce (Nasdaq: NWKC) beat the Street in its third quarter but still lost $13.7 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $33.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 28 cents a share in the quarter.

    In the year-ago quarter, Network Commerce posted a loss of $17.1 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $7.6 million.

    The stock closed up 81 cents to $3.88.