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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Allaire, Computer Associates, Dell, InfoSpace and Ticketmaster-CitySearch

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

  • Allaire Corp. (Nasdaq: ALLR)

    Allaire figures to pick up momentum Thursday after it topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter and set a 2-for-1 stock split.

    In the quarter, Allaire pocketed $478,000, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $18.3 million.

    First Call consensus pegged the e-business platform provider for a profit of 2 cents a share in the quarter.

    Allaire shares closed up 11 9/16, or 7 percent, to 171 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $18.3 million in sales represents a 164 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $4.3 million, or 54 cents a share, on sales of $7 million.

    For the fiscal year, Allaire lost $2.6 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $55.2 million compared to a loss of $17.1 million, or $2.20 a share, on sales of $21.4 million in fiscal 1998.

  • Computer Associates (NYSE: CA)

    CA topped analysts' estimates by a penny a share in its third quarter Wednesday, earning $425 million, or 76 cents a share, on sales of $1.81 billion.

    Its shares closed off 1/8 to 74 9/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 75 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $1.81 billion in sales marks a 33 percent improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it earned $354.6 million, or 64 cents a share, on sales of $1.36 billion.

    Separately, the company inked a distribution pact with Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT.

    Red Hat has agreed to distribute Computer Associate's network management software with its Linux operating system. In addition to software distribution, the deal encompasses marketing and support.

  • Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL)

    Expect Dell shares to take a beating Thursday after it warned that its fourth-quarter sales and earnings will fall significantly short of analysts' estimates.

    Citing an "inconsistent" flow of key semiconductor components, Dell said it will likely post a profit of $430 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $6.7 billion.

    First Call consensus expected the PC maker to earn 21 cents a share in the quarter.

    Dell shares closed off 1 3/4 to 40 3/8 ahead of the announcement.

    It also said a slower-than-expected rebound in sales to corporate and institutional customers related to the Y2K rollover was responsible for the shortfall.

    For the year, Dell expects to earn $1.8 billion, or 68 cents a share, on sales of $25 billion.

    Last quarter, Dell met lowered estimates after issuing a similar profit warning. In the quarter, it made $483 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $6.78 billion.

  • InfoSpace.com (Nasdaq: INSP)

    InfoSpace.com should gain ground after it cruised past the consensus estimate in the fourth quarter.

    After market close Wednesday, the provider of Web portal services reported fourth quarter earnings of $5 million, or 9 cents per fully diluted share, not counting amortization and special charges. First Call's survey of 10 analysts predicted a break-even quarter.

    The company earned $3.6 million in non-operating income. InfoSpace's operations earned $1.4 million, or 2 cents per share. Including all items, the company lost $2.7 million, or 3 cents per share.

    Fourth quarter revenue grew to $14.4 million, a 250 percent improvement year-over-year and a 41 percent gain sequentially. Wireless services are the fastest-growing segment of InfoSpace's business, followed by merchant services. But InfoSpace's consumer services unit still generates the bulk of the company's revenue.

  • Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. (Nasdaq: TMCS)

    Ticketmaster-CitySearch will see heavy action after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter, losing $48.9 million, or 58 cents a share, on sales of $36.4 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 60 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 13/16 to 42 13/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $36.4 million in sales represents a 168 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $16.8 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $13.6 million.

    For the year, it lost $121.4 million, or $1.59 a share, on sales of $105.3 million compared to a loss of $72.6 million, or $1.16 a share, on sales of $40.2 million in fiscal 1998.

    In the quarter, Ticketmaster-CitySearch recorded a 204 percent jump in traffic from the year-ago quarter and 69 percent from the third quarter.