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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Agile Software, Autodesk, Avnet, Intuit and Legato Systems

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Agile, Autodesk, Avnet, Intuit and Legato Systems.

  • Agile Software Corp. (Nasdaq: AGIL)

    The maker of software that helps clients use the Internet to coordinate manufacturing processes said its fiscal first-quarter loss widened to $1.23 a share from a 94-cent loss a year earlier. Revenue from the quarter ended July 31 rose to nearly $5.9 million. Agile rose 7 5/8 to 50 1/2 at Thursday's close.

  • Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK)

    Big trouble ahead for Autodesk, a developer of design software.

    It missed analysts' reduced estimates in its second quarter Thursday and announced it would layoff 10 percent of its workforce.

    The San Rafael, Calif. company said it made only $400,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $202.9 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 11 cents a share in the quarter.

    Analysts had originally pegged it for a profit of 40 cents a share in the quarter, but Autodesk officials issues a profit warning in May, warning that customer-order delays would crimp total sales and profits in the quarter.

    In the year-ago quarter, Autodesk raked in $29 million, or 49 cents a share, on sales of $226.8 million.

    "In light of our financial results, the actions announced today, while painful, are necessary to recalibrate the business and move forward with our strategic direction," said CEO Carol Bartz in a prepared release.

    The stock closed up 2 11/16, or 12 percent, to 24 13/16 ahead of the bad news.

  • Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT)

    One of the world's largest computer-parts distributors agreed to buy Sonepar's stake in a Netherlands-based distributor for an undisclosed price to give it the second position in Europe. Avnet fell 9/16 to 46 5/16.

  • Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU)

    The financial software developer beat Street estimates in its fourth quarter Thursday, losing $16.3 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $150 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 33 cents a share in the quarter.

    The fourth quarter and first quarters are normally Intuit's slowest periods, because they fall between holiday buying and tax preparation seasons.

    The $150 million in sales represents a 28 percent gain year-over-year. Growth was largely fueled by demand for QuickBooks accounting program, which saw revenue equal to last year's fourth quarter, when Intuit launched a new version of software.

    Intuit expects to boost its overall revenues 15 percent in fiscal 2000, executives said, during an afternoon conference call with analysts. The company's growth rate, excluding revenue from recent acquisitions, has averaged 17.8 percent in the last three years.

    Shares of Intuit slid 1 3/4 to 82 7/8 Thursday.

  • Legato Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTO)

    The software developer should get a nice run-up Friday after BancBoston Robertson Stephens reiterated its "strong buy" recommendation after the bell Thursday.

    Its shares closed up 1 3/8 to 43 5/16, within a whisker of its 52-week high of 44 set earlier this month.

    The stock split 2-for-1 earlier this month, too.

    Last quarter, it earned $4.4 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $62 million.

    "Legato continues to create powerful alliances around next generation storage architectures for the SAN market," Powers said in a research report. "Legato is currently trading at 13.7 times our calendar 1999 revenue estimate, a significant discount to Veritas, trading at 17.5 times our calendar 1999 revenue estimate. At these levels, we believe Legato represents a tremendous investment opportunity."