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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: American Software, 4Front Technologies, Microsoft and Tech Data

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: American Software, 4Front Technologies, Great Plains Software Microsoft and Tech Data.

  • American Software (Nasdaq: AMSWA)

    Hard to read how investors will react to American Software's sorry fourth-quarter earnings report.

    Considering how far the stock has slid in the past two months, it may be safe to assume the bad news is already factored in.

    On Wednesday, American posted a loss of $2.7 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $23.3 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus predicted the provider of manufacturing and supply chain management software to lose 5 cents a share in the quarter. However, that figure was not revised after the company issued a profit warning last month.

    Its shares closed up 1/8 to 4 1/4 ahead of the earnings report.

    Company officials blamed surprisingly low license fees and higher spending on the Amquest application infrastructure provider unit for the shortfall.

    Its shares peaked at 24 7/16 in March after falling to a low of 2 3/8 in October.

  • 4Front Technologies (Nasdaq: FFTI)

    4Front should see increased activity Thursday after meeting analysts' estimates in its latest quarter.

    It earned $100,000, or a penny a share, on sales of $58.1 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the providers of networking and other computer services to earn a penny a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 9/16 to 15 1/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $58.1 million in sales marks only a 1 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $2 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $57.3 million.

  • Great Plains Software(Nasdaq: GPSI)

    The maker of business- management software said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to fall short of expectations at $58 million to $60 million. It expects fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents to 10 cents a share, short of the 32-cent average forecast by 6 analysts polled by First Call.

    Great Plains rose 1/4 to 40 3/8 at Wednesday's close.

  • Merix Corp. (Nasdaq: MERX)

    The maker of integrated circuits said it expects fiscal fourth-quarter earnings will exceed expectations on stronger sales and improved operations. It expects earnings of 45 cents to 47 cents a share for the quarter ended May 27, above the average forecast of 27 cents made by 7 analysts polled by First Call.

    Merix dropped 3/8 to 31 7/8 at Wednesday's close.

  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    Obviously the world will be watching Microsoft shares Thursday after Judge Thomas Jackson rendered his expected endorsement of the government's plan to split the company in half.

    While most analysts are convinced the case will be overturned on appeal, it will be interesting to see how individual and institutional traders react to this latest salvo.

    If after-hours trading is any indication, the stock could move higher.

    After closing up 7/8 to 70 1/2 ahead of the announcement, the stock moved as high as 72 once it was re-opened for trading.

    Microsoft, of course, vows to appeal the case. If the remedies were instituted, Microsoft would be split into two companies: one for the operating systems software and the other for application and Internet software.

  • Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD)

    Tech Data figures to move higher after beating the Street in its first quarter.

    It raked in $37.2 million, or 68 cents a share, on sales of $4.92 billion, a 27 percent jump from the year-ago quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Tech Data closed up 1/2 to 38 but rose to 40 3/4 in after-hours trading.

    Analysts were expecting a profit of 64 cents a share this time around.

    U.S. sales increased 48 percent year-over-year. European revenue rose 19 percent. Other regions combined for 82 percent growth.